Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Sewer follow-up work begins Tuesday

by Alan Lewis Gerstenecker Editor
| May 31, 2011 1:28 AM

   The owner of the construction

company that installed the sewer system in the Cabinet Heights area

subdivision Monday said his company will make repairs to the roads

that seems to have resulted from settling soil.

   Brian Edstrom of Edstrom

Construction, Inc., of Rexburg, Idaho, said Monday his company will

begin repairs beginning Tuesday. The project was completed last


   “We plan to be there a week

from tomorrow,” Edstrom said Monday. “We have every intention of

going back and finishing the job. For 30-plus years, this company

has never left a job unfinished, and I don’t suspect we’re going to

be doing that in Libby.”

   Edstrom said initial duties

there will include a “walk-through to get an assessment,” and then

“we’ll begin the work.”

   Edstrom’s commitment to make

the repairs comes with great satisfaction to one resident in

particular, Hubert “Bert” Ward of 176 Highwood Drive. Ward has been

vocal in his criticism of the work, and he has written City Council

members detailing his concerns.

   Ward contends an area about 35

square feet near a cleanout at his home has settled about “half a

foot with several areas two feet deep.”

   Ward continued in a letter he

dated May 10 that areas around his driveway also have begun to

settle, some of which require “yards of fill dirt to fill.”

   “It’s just amazing the way this

has all sunken,” Ward said. “It can’t be safe. My wife has visitors

who come and go, and there’s this hole about 18 inches deep. This

whole thing has just been an awfully ugly can of worms.”

   Ward showed areas of his yard

where his home was tapped into the new sewer line and earth in the

yard had settled as much as three feet.

   “I don’t know what they used as

fill, but it’s just not right,” said Ward, a retired forester.

   In the middle of the Highwood

Drive, just across from his driveway, Ward stood near a traffic

cone placed near a sewer manhole cover. The traffic cone, with city

ownership spray painted on the side, was covering a hole that

appeared to be at least six inches deep.

   “Oh, you’d break your tire if

you hit this,” Ward said. “The city tells me they can’t do any more

than this (place the cone), because then it would void the

follow-up agreement with the contractor,” Ward said.

Leading up to Edstrom’s announcement his

company would return to fill settling earth, the City of Libby,

through its engineering company, had sent Edstrom a letter asking

that repairs be made.

   In a document obtained by The

Western News, Ryan Jones, an engineer with Morrison Maierle, Inc.,

an engineering firm in Kalispell, sent a letter dated May 13 to

Edstrom detailing his concerns with the project.

   In the letter, Jones writes of

an inspection of the construction area on May 10, that “many

deficiencies were observed with the majority of the problems

appearing to be due to settlement both in the roadways and yards.

Several areas could potentially pose public safety risks.”

   Jones continued: “We believe

that it is in the best interest for all parties involved if your

immediate action is taken to remedy these problems. I am writing to

request your prompt attention to these matters.”

   Montana statutes mandate a

response within 30 days.

   Libby City Administrator Jim

Hammons said he knows the project was bonded, and he suspected the

problems would be remedied. However, Hammons still referred

questions to Jones at Morrison Maierle, Inc., who

also  acknowledged the project is bonded.

   “I have no doubt that this will

get worked out,” Jones said. “Contractually, it’s a must.”