September 13, 2023 |

Photo – Employee of NPL Construction – Courtesy of Black Hills Energy

In Rawlins, utility cuts on city streets have not been repaired because the contractor forgot about them, says the public works director.

Cuts made in the asphalt to accommodate natural gas hookups have left the members of the governing body concerned that the streets won’t be repaired before winter. At the August 15th Rawlins city council meeting, Mayor Terry Weickum asked City Manager Tom Sarvey to investigate why the streets in the Mountain View neighborhood and the south side of the city were not fixed after the utilities were installed.

During last week’s city council meeting, Sarvey said he looked into the mayor’s request. Sarvey had Public Works Director Cody Dill explain the situation to the council. Mayor Weickum said the utility contractors are required to fix the streets before finishing a project. The mayor asked Dill why that hadn’t happened.

Dill said he spoke to a representative from Black Hills Energy, the utility company that installed the gas lines. Dill said the contractor hired by Black Hills Energy to fix the streets, NPL Construction out of Cheyenne, had a change in management. The public works director said the new staff member wasn’t told about the unfinished road work.

Dill said he talked to the new superintendent of NPL Construction and was told that the Cheyenne-based contractor was looking for a local company to finish the project. Dill said he was asked if the city could fix the streets if NPL Construction couldn’t find a local contractor. The public works director said his crews could perform some of the repairs, but not all. Dill said he will offer his department’s staff if necessary.

Mayor Weickum asked Dill if the NPL Construction superintendent offered to reimburse the city for any work done on the project.

Dill said the city doesn’t have a way to bill an outside subcontractor. The public works director said he was trying to set up a way to allow NPL to pay the city directly.

Dill said the new superintendent of NPL Construction apologized for the unfinished work. The public works director said he was told the project was simply forgotten about during the contractor’s staffing change. Mayor Weickum said it isn’t the city’s fault. The mayor said to avoid damaging the streets, the utility cuts must be repaired before winter.

Dill said his crew already has more work than it can handle. The public works director said he hopes NPL Construction can find a local contractor to fix the utility cuts in the Mountainview and southern portions of the city. However, Dill said he is aware of how difficult it can be to find contractors. Mayor Weickum said the city shouldn’t be forced to do someone else’s work.

Dill said NPL Construction would let him know later in the week if they had found a contractor.

Speaking to Bigfoot99, Rawlins Public Information Officer Mira Miller said NPL was speaking to 71 Construction, out of Casper. No date has been set for the contractor to begin work.

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