LINCOLN — A badly needed water main project in the city of Lincoln has some people along the route crying foul.
“Words can’t even express the frustration,” said concerned resident Kay LaCoe.
She lives on 66th Street outside of Lincoln, and she’s furious with the work being performed by Wagner Construction to install a new five-mile-long water line into the city of Lincoln.
Work she said has ruined their drainage culverts and their driveway approaches.
“We did not have a clue the magnitude of desolation that they were going to leave behind, the feet of sludge and chunks of hard mud in that ditch that without some extreme attention will stay there for the foreseeable future,” she said.
She showed KX News hundreds of pictures of problems they feel need to be addressed, such as the contractor burying garbage, installing damaged culverts and incorrectly reclaiming the land where the pipe has been installed.
“My father approached one of the workers at one point in time and asked, ‘Are you going to pick up your garbage?’ and the construction worker simply replied that, no they’re allowed to put garbage in the ditches as long as it’s buried,” said LaCoe.
LaCoe told KX News that contractors she knows have told her that the reclamation job that was done by the contractor on the piece of land was done so poorly that when the spring rolls around, their chances of flooding could increase dramatically.
We took many of LaCoe’s concerns to Lincoln City Engineer Kenneth Nysether who told us they are aware of the issues but the project is not yet complete.
“The contractor did spend some time reshaping areas last week, trying to better prepare for winter freeze-in. They’re going to be back in the spring to do additional grading and shaping in preparation for seeding prior to the final payments being made on the project,” said Nysether.
“I believe that through whatever means necessary, someone will come back and fix this, however, will it be fixed in time to prevent future flooding? By all predictions, we will flood in the spring and that flood will potentially be made worse because the ditches are not graded correctly. Our culverts are damaged and blocked, there is no way for the water to get to where it is supposed to be,” said LaCoe.
Wagner has had a few gaffes during the project, including hitting other water mains twice, recently requiring Lincoln to issue a boil advisory. They also struck some overhead power lines.
“Sometimes things to get hit. It’s just the nature of the business that when you’re digging five miles of water line into the ground, there’s a good potential for things to be hit. As for the overhead line strike, it’s an unfortunate thing but sometimes mistakes do happen,” said Nysether.
LaCoe told KX News they are consulting with an attorney in case they need to take legal action to get the proper repairs made.