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Road work on fiber optics has local business owners frustrated

By Eric Turcio, Reporter, eturcio@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:46:29 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 24 2013 08:53:05 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Bozeman residents told NBC Montana that road work on College Street is causing them headaches.

We wanted know more about the project. Bozeman's Chief Engineer Rick Hixson said he is only responsible for checking up on contractors.

"Our role is to review, approve and grant permits. If the contractor is not abiding by the conditions of the permit, then we go out there and enforce them," said Hixson.

Hixson said Century Link is installing fiber optics to deliver faster internet and communication services around west college. "What they're doing is enhancing communication infrastructure in the city."

Hixson said it's up to Century Link to let residents and business owners know about traffic disruptions, but they have every right to work on the public roadways.

"The business has the right to use the public right of way. they are the city streets for their infrastructure," said Hixson.

NBC Montana talked to a couple business owners on College Street where the construction and installation of the fiber optics has taken away from their business. They said fewer customers are walking in the door and they are sending home employees earlier.

Ken Olson owns the Pickle Barrel on College Street. "He never notified us or any of my employees here, I've asked, there was never any notice. As you can see, the road is just blocked up with the trucks, nobody could get in," explained Olson.

Hixson said there is no question the road work has caused confusion, but argues that it's necessary. "There's just nowhere to work in the streets without causing disruption."

Hixson said the workers have been doing their best to keep roads open as much as possible.

NBC Montana called Century Link, but they declined to comment.