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Longview utility worker, contractor point fingers about water main break

Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 11:10am

Longview, TX — Not I, said the road contractor.

Knife River Vice President of Operations Tim Driver said he has been told that a water main break during rush hour traffic Tuesday on Loop 281 at Bill Owens Parkway might not be the fault of a Knife River subcontractor. Instead, work crews at the scene say city utility workers incorrectly marked the spot for where not to dig by at least a yard.

Longview Assistant City Manager Chuck Ewings’ response: Electrical subcontractor Wiley Construction Co. could have avoided striking a 12-inch water main simply by asking for the city’s help, which is free of charge. While evidence of where markings for the water main were located is likely forever lost because of the damage, Ewings said contractors could have picked up the phone before they drilled into a water main in a densely populated location.

“We do offer that and try to ensure that a line is not going to be cut,” Ewings said. “We want to make sure this doesn’t happen.”

Driver confirmed Wiley Construction is an electrical subcontractor on Knife River’s $19.9 million widening project for Loop 281.

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