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Archive for Saturday, June 5, 1999

CREWS SEVER GAS LINEPHONES

June 5, 1999

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Friday's utility line breaks affected a few customer for a few hours, instead of days.

On Friday, for the second time in a week, crews in Lawrence installing fiber-optic cable severed telephone and utility services.

Employees from Moore Engineering Services Inc. of El Dorado were boring a horizontal tunnel for cable along West 15th Street near Inverness Drive when they hit a gas line and phone line. The gas line was repaired in a few hours; Southwestern Bell was working Friday evening to restore phone service.

The Moore crew was installing cable for a Sunflower Cablevision system upgrade. Officials were unsure why the incident occurred.

"Our first major concern is to get the services back on and we'll get the rest figured out later," Tom Evans, the managing engineer for Sunflower Cablevision, said.

Evans said it would be two to three days before the cause of the line break was known.

Charles Hoag, director of network operations for Kansas Public Service, said that the natural gas line break occurred around 3:45 p.m. Friday.

"We were able to shut it down right away," he said, because the 2-inch, high-pressure gas main line only serves one building. The line was shut down for repairs for around two hours.

"It took awhile to get everything else excavated," he said.

Ellen Jacobson, a spokesperson for Southwestern Bell, said that a 400-pair phone cable was cut.

"It appears to be pretty minor," she said, affecting some businesses in the area.

It wasn't minor to the people that work there, though.

"I had to send people to their home computers to be able to send materials to clients," said Tom Boogher, executive vice president of PSI, a national consulting engineering firm located at 4820 W. 15th St. The business was left without e-mail, faxes or phones, as well as natural gas.

"I was on the phone with a client and the phone went dead," Boogher said.

Phone service was expected to be restored late Friday night.

Sunflower's major underground construction will continue for 30 to 45 days, Evans said. Crews have been laying fiber-optic cable since September, and this was the third major incident where utility service was lost.

On Tuesday, contractors cut a telephone cable at 17th and Massachusetts streets, leaving thousands of residents and businesses without a service for a day or more.

In September, crews severed a 2-inch natural gas main at the intersection of Arrowhead Drive and Peterson Road. Nearly 80 customers were without natural gas for close to an hour.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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