Recent talks initiated by Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack’s Office that included key leaders from Tachus, CenterPoint, Woodlands Water Agency and Howard Hughes provided a commitment to a cooperative effort among these entities in order to achieve safe and efficient drilling by the telecommunications company and its boring contractors.
In order to communicate these key changes with the community and to answer questions from residents, Commissioner Noack and Tachus CEO Hal Brumfield will host a public, in-person town hall meeting starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, at the South County Community Center, located at 2235 Lake Robbins Drive, Spring, TX 77380.
Masks are not required.
Residents also can view the meeting on Facebook Live via Commissioner Noack’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CommissionerNoack.
Among the proposed changes to help prevent utility line breaks, Tachus is committed to:
- Improved communication before and during boring efforts
- Submitting plans to Montgomery County for projects on arterial and collector roads
- Ensuring all locates are called in and completed before drilling commences
- Increased communication to residents of work prior to starting in their communities
- Increased coordination with other utilities
- Enforcing proper locates of other utilities’ equipment locations prior to drilling
- Potholing to verify depth of marked utility lines
- Requesting relocates when utility lines are not properly marked by the respective utility companies or their third-party locating services
- Improving quality of boring contractors’ fieldwork
- Setting up training with CenterPoint so boring contractors can improve on potholing to determine depth of gas utilities
- Ensuring field manager oversight so crews and contractors are following Tachus’ standards
- Working with Woodlands Water Agency to augment locate efforts by possibly having Tachus help fund an additional locater position throughout the remainder of Tachus’ construction efforts in The Woodlands
Tachus plans to invest over $45 million to have fiber installed in every neighborhood of The Woodlands, and the goal is to have the bulk of it drilled by the end of 2021.
Tachus is a telecommunications company with a Service Provider Certificate of Operating Authority issued by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Under the Texas Utilities Code (Section 181.082), a recognized telecommunications company is not required to give notice or receive approval prior to installing its facilities in public right of way.
The code also protects Tachus from responsibility over private damage in the right of way. However, Tachus leadership said the company continues to be committed to repairing yards and irrigation lines. The company’s leadership further urges residents to call Tachus directly with any construction-related issues to help ensure that its boring contractors restore all areas as close as possible to pre-construction conditions.
While state statute is clear on telecommunications companies’ legal rights to install equipment in the right of way, the law falls short of establishing oversight. Even so, Precinct 3 Commissioner Noack’s Office has led the effort to ensure responsibility and accountability regarding fiber installation in our communities. The precinct’s diligence over the past several months has led to positive dialogue with Tachus and other telecommunications companies, resulting in progress to improve communication, coordination and safety on these jobs.
For questions regarding the town hall meeting, call Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack’s Office at 281-367-3977.