Beware Telstra trap
Tuesday, 15th October, 2013
By By Andrew Robertson
It will take an injury to force Telstra to fix the dozens of damaged service pit lids that are littering our footpaths, one of the telco’s former employees has warned.
So frustrated is the man at Telstra’s lack of action on the issue, he has photographed dozens of the crumbling concrete lids to highlight the shocking state of the company’s local infrastructure.
The pictures - which were taken in Williams and Rakow Streets - show just how potentially hazardous the structures are to unsuspecting pedestrians.
Many pose a trip hazard but others could do more serious harm in the event someone was to fall through one, said the resident, who did not want to be named.
“If someone steps on it, you don’t know what’s underneath,” he said. “Some of these are quite deep.”
One photo taken by the man shows a Telstra pit with a clearly broken lid in the direct path of a footbridge.
Only last month Telstra, responding to concerns surrounding the use of asbestos in the construction of many pits, conceded broken lids “obviously pose a safety risk” and asked local residents to report them.
But the resident said he had contacted Telstra and City Council in the past to try and get something done about the hazards without success.
He said some people were even taking matters into their own hands, filling up exposed holes with dirt which was covering up wires.
“Someone will need to get hurt before something gets done,” he said.
“They just don’t fix anything. They just do the minimum amount ... and that’s it. I just reckon it’s not right that it should be like this.
“I’d like to see someone do something about it.
“They wouldn’t get away with it anywhere else.”
Council has previously told the BDT that Telstra was responsible for the pits.
A recent report it commissioned on the state of the city’s footpaths described the cover fix as “a high-need, low-cost action”.
But Councillor Bob Algate said yesterday he was yet to see a detailed plan in response to the report’s recommendations.
He said Council had budgeted $100,000 for footpath maintenance this financial year which included weed eradication.
A Telstra spokeswoman said yesterday the company relied on the council, along with the public and its own staff, to report broken lids.
“When broken pit lids are identified and reported, we will repair them as soon as possible. Sometimes pit lids of the correct size have to be ordered in,” she said.
“When this happens, we erect guards in the area and our local technicians keep a close eye on them.
“If the local council would like a contact number for the local area manager or team manager we can provide this to ensure these jobs are done as soon as possible.”
She said the local Telstra team manager had arranged for an inspection of Williams and Rakow Streets today.