Process Outlined to Resolve, Report CenturyLink Locating Issues

Back to All News

Process Outlined to Resolve, Report CenturyLink Locating Issues

May 22, 2019

Many municipal utilities and other excavators, along with homeowners and businesses, have been affected by CenturyLink Inc.’s transition to a new locating company to mark the location of CenturyLink underground facilities in Minnesota. CenturyLink changed locate contractors (from USIC to DirectSat) as of April 1.

Since then, the Minnesota Association of General Contractors (AGC) reported, there has been an unprecedented amount of mishandled locate tickets. Gopher State One Call (GSOC) estimates over half of the 45,000 plus tickets belong to CenturyLink and have not been properly located by the facility, which falls under their jurisdiction in 216D.04. 

CenturyLink held an Excavator Forum May 6 and, as reported on the GSOC website, it is training staff to locate and mark its facilities and the company expected to be caught up with its backlog by sometime in mid-June.  

CenturyLink said that DirectSat opened a dispatch center (1-800-667-9963) to handle ticket inquiry, rescheduling, and escalations starting the week of April 15th to help alleviate many calls that the field managers were receiving. The dispatch center should be the primary point of contact for excavators with ticket inquiries. The dispatch center will forward any issues that need to be addressed in the field to the appropriate field manager for follow-up. Additionally, a contact sheet with CenturyLink Underground Facility Locate Contacts is available here

Cities and municipal utilities affected by the unprecedented delay in locating facilities should follow these steps, which were first outlined to its members by AGC:

  1. Document with photos and keep records with the date and time of any and all issues you are having with a locate ticket with any facility your company has contracted with.
  1. Create invoices that keep track of lost downtime and wages.
  1. MnOPS has  online complaint form located at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ops/Pages/one-call-complaint-form.aspx  Using this form will help MnOPS have a more streamlined approach to logging these many complaints.  The agency noted it is working with the company to try and resolve the complaints as soon as possible.

Copy Bill Black (bblack@mmua.org) and Steve Downer (sdowner@mmua.org) so MMUA can also be aware of the magnitude of the issue for MMUA members, and for future any potential future reference.

Finally, in information provided to Gopher State One Call, Century Link warned that “Excavators who dig without positive confirmation risk civil and criminal penalties associated with 911 and government communication infrastructure outages. If CenturyLink has not yet provided an ‘all clear’ confirmation or physical locates, you cannot proceed with excavation.”