Neighbors place blame on AT&T work for property, street damage


Some people in west El Paso said their neighborhood has been ripped to shreds by construction workers. Many told CBS4 they’ve been left with expensive damage after crews showed up.

Normally, Coronado Hills is a quiet neighborhood, but an AT&T fiber optics installation has them all but calm there.

“It looks like a third world country right now with all these construction barrels up and the mesh fences and the holes,” Paul Parks, a Somerset Drive resident, said.

Residents said the work on Somerset Drive has been going on since November.

“The crews have done damage on every utility in this neighborhood: water, sewage, electric. Existing cable TV systems have been down,” Thomas McFarland said. “Even the gas lines have been hit.”

Each neighbor we spoke with said they’ve experienced at least one form of property damage.

“I have a blockage in my sewer line,” Endre Kozma said.

“We had our sewage line also broken,” Lety Fierro said.

“House flooded for two nights in a row,” Sami Khoury said.

“My landscape has been ruined,” Reynaldo Cervantes said.

The people on Somerset Drive aren’t just worried about property damage. They’re concerned about public safety as well. Trucks and orange cones have taken over the street. Several holes are set up right along the sidewalk, making it dangerous for anyone trying to enjoy their street.

“I have a 2-year-old granddaughter that we like to take out and ride the bike in the front yard and we have not been able to do that,” Fierro said.

Residents have reached out to their Councilwoman Cissy Lizarraga.

“I was really, really appalled and saddened by that situation,” Lizarraga said.

She said that her office is collecting complaints from upset residents.

“Many residents have emailed me their pictures and their concerns. So we’re trying to keep database of the actual properties, the owner and what specifically has happened to their property so that the situation can be rectified,” Lizarraga said.

Lizarraga said that her office has been in contact with AT&T about the construction.

The CBS4 Problem Solvers pressed AT&T for an explanation.

The company said in a statement that its “goal is to minimize impact on residents before, during and after construction and to keep them informed through a variety of means throughout the network expansion process.”

Residents said they just want their street back.

“Leave the neighborhood the way they found it,” Cervantes said. “The landscaping, the piping – make it right.”

Lizarraga has a website where constituents can send complaints and photos of damage done to their neighborhood.

An AT&T spokesperson sent the following statement:

We have helped to position El Paso as a gigabit city by bringing our fastest internet connections to more than 50,000 homes, apartments and small businesses in the area. Our goal is to minimize impact on residents before, during and after construction and to keep them informed through a variety of means throughout the network expansion process. If construction related issues do occur we work quickly to resolve and restore any impacts from our work. Our contractor is working to restore any effects of the work on Somerset Drive as quickly as possible.

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