Riverton council wants ‘restitution’ for $50K change order on Sunset Drive

The Riverton City Council wants to seek “restitution” for a $50,000 change order they approved this week for an ongoing improvement project on Sunset Drive.

The project includes the replacement of the Armstrong Irrigation Lateral, which currently runs underneath many of the curbs, gutters, and sidewalks that line Sunset Drive – “not ideal,” public works director Kyle Butterfield said.

Engineers working on the Sunset Drive improvement project thought they had found a better spot for the lateral, he said, but after work got underway on the ground, crews found an unmarked fiber optic bank blocking their path at the intersection of Sunset and Broadway.

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But after work got underway on the ground, crews found an unmarked fiber optic bank blocking their path at the intersection of Sunset and Broadway.

h/t City of Riverton

“That’s about 12 different 4-inch conduits stacked right in line with that irrigation line,” city engineer Brendan Thoman said. “And it was unmarked.”

Unmarked line

Thoman said the utility company that owns the fiber optic bank – CenturyLink – had not identified the conflicting line during the planning and design phase of the improvement project.

Community development director Michael Miller explained that the utility locator working for CenturyLink had “assumed” that all of the facilities were “grouped together” in a different area.

It’s a “common occurrence,” he said, pointing to a recent project on Hill Street that required a change order for similar reasons.

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“There are some inadequacies there,” Miller said. “(These companies) do not have a very accurate (record of) where their facilities are.”

‘We need compensation’

Miller pointed out that Riverton doesn’t require utility companies to provide detailed location information “because of the amount of work it creates for the city to document where all those facilities are.”

“That’s the cause of this issue (and other) issues like this,” Miller said.

Regardless, Councilmember Kyle Larson said the city did its “due diligence” in this case by asking CenturyLink to locate its utilities on Sunset Drive, and “they screwed up.”

“I think that we need to be a little more forceful (about) what they have cost us,” he said.

Thoman said he could “take that stance” with CenturyLink at the council’s direction, and city administrator Tony Tolstedt agreed.

“We can absolutely look into what remedy, financially, we could take (to address the) additional costs that you incurred because of a failure on a third party,” Tolstedt said. “We’re happy to do that and try to have those conversations and be more forceful.”

Mayor Richard Gard pointed out that the unmarked utility issue also extended the timeline for the Sunset Drive project by 21 days.

“It’s (not) just $50,000,” he said. “It’s costing us time. Twenty-one days is not going to be pleasant for the public that we work for. (So) I think we should push back on all levels. … We need compensation.”

For more information call the City of Riverton at 856-2227.

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