Jul 8, 2011 8:12 PM by Maddie Garrett

Lafayette Suing Contractor for "Shoddy Work" on Fiber Lines

Lafayette City-Parish Government is suing contractors for millions of dollars, alleging they did "shoddy work" installing fiber optic lines. The problem isn't with the cables, instead it's how they were installed.

Lafayette's state of the art internet, telephone and television service first launched in 2009. But a few months ago the city found a problem while conducting road work; some of the fiber optic lines weren't buried deep enough. Lafayette City-Parish Attorney Michael Hebert says that's not the only problem.

"The drawings that were supposed to be provided to LUS of the final construction, shows fiber optic cable buried at a certain depth, when in fact it's at a shallower depth, that's also part of our claim," said Hebert.

LUS said it requires their fiber cable to be buried at least four feet below the road's surface, but in many locations they found it's much shallower, even only a foot deep at certain road crossings.

So last month Lafayette filed a law suit against Mississippi-based Chain Electric Company, claiming the contractor did not follow specifications that called for the cable to be buried deep enough so that it would not be damaged by future road work. In the suit, Lafayette is asking that the contractor either re-do the work, or pay up.

"We have contended that the cost to fix all of the street crossings could be as much as $15 million," said Hebert.

In the meantime, LUS Fiber Field Operations Supervisor Ron Frye said no customers have been affected. But he said now LUS must closely monitor any construction by Lafayette Public Works, to make sure the fiber lines don't get damaged.

"There is a lot, there's hundreds of miles of fiber, so there's a lot of crossings," explained Frye.

The suit is now pending in Federal Court. KATC did reach out to the contractor, Chain Electric, but did not receive an immediate response Friday.



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