Tuesday, April 19, 2005

why am i not surprised?

the tasty bit:

Almost half of the gas-related calls the Carrollton Fire Department responded to last month appears to be attributed to the Verizon Fiber to the Premises project deployed in Carrollton, according to fire officials.About 19 crews have been working around the city to install fiber to enhance network capabilities. It will provide voice, data and video at faster speeds than the current copper-cable systems. Last month, 18 gas lines were hit in Carrollton due to the Verizon project. Four calls received last month were related to gas odors of those lines hit.

i thought i'd read this in the DMN, but couldn't find it. i did find an article at wfaa.com:

Work crews continue to hit gas lines
Fiberoptic rollout keeps cutting Carrollton utilities, tying up fire crews and equipment
08:34 PM CDT on
Saturday, April 16, 2005

A rash of construction accidents involving ruptured gas lines is worrying some North Texas firefighters.Last month, crews hired by Verizon to bury fiberoptic cable for new high-speed internet service hit natural gas lines 18 times in Carrollton.
Also Online

Stoler reports

Work crews hired by Verizon have already laid 125 miles of cable with 900 more to go. However, burying the fiberoptic lines without hitting utilities is a delicate and complicated task, because the locations on maps aren't always clear.

"We tried all day yesterday to read the gas, but we couldn't read it," one crew member said. "It's right here and goes both ways (but) she can't find it." When crews hit gas lines 18 times, that meant 18 different times Carrollton firefighters had to respond.

Fire administrators said that's taking a toll on manpower and equipment. "It ties up our emergency units on the scene," said Carrollton assistant chief Gary Nesbitt. "They have to stand by the gas leak until it can be repaired."

Some neighbors are worried about safety. "It makes you scared," said resident Matt Nielsen. Resident Mike Doonan and others said getting better internet technology in the future is worth minor inconveniences now - but sometimes the danger might supplant the desire for that technology. "You've got to break eggs to make omelettes; you're going to scratch some things - pipes are going to get nicked, they're going to get cracked - but as long as they fix it," Doonan said. "If I saw flames coming out, it would be a different story."

Verizon spokesman Bill Kula said the number of gas line hits is down to three this month. (hmmmm, two weeks in, three calls, there's still time catch up. mk) He said the company is working with the city and the gas company, Atmos Energy, to reduce the number of accidents. "The long-term gain will help outweigh some of these temporary inconveniences that have taken place," said Kula. "We don't want to disrupt the city's services and have fire trucks sitting idle while they're just waiting for a gas line to be repaired."

Atmos Energy spokesman Ray Granado told News 8 that 13 of the 18 hit lines last month resulted from contractor error. The other five involved problems pinpointing the location of lines.

"We've hired extra people," Granado said. "We have 30 extra line locators that we've put on board."

Verizon is laying fiber optic cable across North Texas, from Keller in the west to Wylie in the east. Company officials said one of the problems with Carrollton is that the gas lines are buried at different depths. Still, firefighters said 18 hits in one month is too many.

though, i'm still wondering how verizon can be happy about contractors cutting their lines and not fixing them. have i mentioned i also like the big mudhole in the front yard? thanks guys.