Reinstatement of driveways slow after fibre digging

Fibre is fast. Contractors repairing driveways they dig up to install it? Not so much, say far-south residents.

Trenching started on Wednesday January 23 and in less than a month, fibre-installer Frogfoot was in hot water with the City for damaging water pipes and power cables in the valley.

The City halted all Frogfoot’s operations and withdrew the company’s way-leave permissions until it guaranteed it would take more care while trenching (“City takes fibre network provider to task,” Echo, February 28).

While there are no more water and electricity interruptions, residents say they are now struggling to get Frogfoot to reinstate their driveways.

Ranger Road resident, Karen Larsen, said her tarred driveway had been in a terrible state since March.

She said fibre installers had dug across her driveway, fitted their cables, closed the trench and left without saying when the driveway would be repaired.

Her lawn had been covered in screed that she had recently removed herself, and her car skidded when she drove up her driveway.

“I initially held off complaining as there was a team of guys there who told me it would be restored to its original state, so I took their word for it,” she said.

But three months have passed and her driveway is still in a state.

Ms Larsen said she had spoken to several Frogfoot employees and no one could give her a definite answer as to when her driveway would be fixed.

“One (employee) admitted to me that he did not know what to tell me,” she said.

She said that prior to the digging, her house had been on the market but she had taken it off, worried that the eyesore driveway would deter buyers.

“Frogfoot benefited financially from ripping up my driveway, and no one is rushing back to fix it,” she said.

Anton Fourie, of Lakeside, said trenching had started there about two months ago. Although his driveway was reinstated about two weeks after it was dug up, another
team started digging on Thursday June 27 and his driveway is a mess again.

He said he could not understand why the various companies had to dig separate trenches and why the various cables could not be fitted into one trench.

Mayoral committee member for transport, Felicity Purchase, said the contractor, not the City, was responsible for driveway repairs.

“Reinstatements only commence once the fibre installation is complete and is weather dependent.

“The contractor is responsible to maintain the areas not reinstated to an acceptable condition until such time as the work is completed,” she said.

Frogfoot regional project manager, Roger Gunning, said work was still in progress in Ranger Road and the driveways would only be reinstated once all the fibre was in.

Once all installations were
done, an independent consulting engineer would inspect all the reinstatements before handing over to the City, which would do its own inspection, he said.

Deputy mayor, Ian Neilson, said the City encouraged service providers to share trenches, but it was something they seldom agreed to do.

He said the City had previously been able to enforce that, but
under the Electronic Communications Act (ECA), the City and residents could not refuse fibre optic service providers access to road reserves.

Residents having problems with their driveways being reinstated can email Mr Gunning at roger@frogfoot.com