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Sliced 911 cable is up and running in Pleasant Grove

Qwest investigating; no decision yet on who will cover repairs

PLEASANT GROVE — Crews are done fixing a sliced 911 cable in Pleasant Grove — but now the question is who will pay the bill for the damage.

"We haven't determined what exactly happened, but they cut right through it," said Vince Hancock, a Qwest spokesman. "If in fact the company that cut our cable did not call for (help locating the line) then they will absorb the cost of the repair. If the locate was incorrect, the locating company will absorb the cost."

There were no locator marks on the area where the cut occurred, Hancock said.

Condie Construction Co. of Springville was working on a storm drain at 1000 South Main in Pleasant Grove when it cut through the fiber optic cable, disrupting 911 service for Pleasant Grove for almost two hours Thursday morning. Hancock said.

Calls to the company Thursday evening were not immediately returned.

However, thanks to networking and backup services, emergency calls were directed to nearby cities.

"We were still able to receive 911 calls made by cell service, but all (calls) on the land lines were being re-routed to Orem," said Pleasant Grove and Lindon Police Lt. Clark Nielsen.

Digging protocol requires that before anyone — homeowner, contractor or construction company — digs deeper than 6 inches, they should call a locator company and have the area checked for underground utilities.

Blue Stakes of Utah — a utility notification center — receives almost 2,000 requests each day during the busy summer season from individuals who want to safely dig.

After each request, Blue Stakes sends out a notice to the utility companies in the area. They have 48 hours to respond to the particular location and mark the area and where it's OK to dig, said Gary Hansen, Blue Stakes of Utah executive director.

Spray-paint lines on streets or sidewalks are markings from the locating companies indicating buried gas, sewer, telephone or electric lines.

Based on the number of locator requests, Hansen said, Condie Construction was doing a large amount of construction in the area. They had a locator request that encompassed the length of the street, but nothing for the exact intersection of 1000 South and Main.

Qwest crews responded to the cut around 9 a.m. Thursday morning after a Pleasant Grove dispatcher informed Qwest they were receiving an error message instead of information on their 911 system.

Normally, a name, address and telephone number are transferred when someone calls 911, but the error message showed the information couldn't be received.

However, no 911 calls were lost, Nielsen said. Even without a cable loss, if calls can't be answered by the two full-time dispatchers, they are sent to Orem.

Some phone service and Internet services were also disrupted but were restored within a few hours.

Cutting through transmission or power lines is a relatively common problem, though losing 911 services is always a concern, Hancock said.

"Our goal is to get consumers up and running as soon as possible," he said. "Different alarms go off if 911 services are impacted."

Hancock said this is the first time Qwest has dealt with a loss of 911 services in Utah County.