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Crews Accidentally Cut Phone, Data Cable at Rio Intersection Project

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Hundreds, if not thousands, of CenturyLink customers are still without home phone and internet service.

The outage occurred early Monday morning when construction crews accidentally cut a fiber cable while they were doing work on the grade-separated interchange at the intersection of Route 29 and Rio Road.

“Typically what happens is the people who are doing the excavating work and the equipment gets too close to an underground line nicks it or cuts it completely,” explained Virginia Department of Transportation Spokesperson Lou Hatter.

The accident severed services for homes and businesses across Albemarle County, including many schools and the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO).

County schools have limited or no phone and internet connectivity because of the cut. Parents received an email letting them know about the issue.

Meanwhile, some morning flights at CHO were canceled, so the airport has been asking travelers to check their website for updates.

CenturyLink says it was a serious cut, and that it requires a lot of work.

“It's, it's very extensive. There is major damage to our fiber and our copper in that area. We are going to have to replace three sections of that. It is a very time consuming, tedious, and it takes a lot of time for our technicians to splice that copper and fiber, and they are working very diligently to get that restored,” said CenturyLink Spokesperson Debbie Keyser.

Some AARP volunteers offering free tax assistance to low and middle income people at the Northside Library were forced to cancel more than a dozen appointments. That's because the filings are done online.

The library itself could barely function without internet: without internet access, the library can't check in any books that have been returned, leading to a pile up of thousands.

“We're looking at a lot, a lot, a lot of work whenever it does come back on, because we literally can't do anything until it does,” said Northside Branch Circulation Supervisor Allyson Johns.

CenturyLink hopes to have service repaired by Tuesday morning.

“I really need to stress to folks that our guys are there. We can only put one person in a manhole at a time,” Keyser said.

The Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle County Office of Emergency Management is asking people to try calling 911 first, but if they can’t get through, they should go to the nearest fire station to report emergencies.

The stations will be staffed through the outage with radios to call for assistance in any emergency.

Updated Release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Repair crews from CenturyLink are working to repair damage to an underground cable that carries telephone and data service for the company’s customers in the Charlottesville region. Technicians will work through the night to restore service and CenturyLink anticipates that service will be restored to all customers by Tuesday morning.

The cable was damaged early this morning by a construction crew working on the Route 29-Rio Road grade-separated intersection project. The Virginia Department of Transportation and its contractor, Lane-Corman Joint Venture, are providing resources, including equipment and traffic control, to CenturyLink’s repair technicians.

News Release from the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle County Office of Emergency Management:

CenturyLink technicians are working to repair voice and DSL services in Northern, Eastern, and Western Albemarle County area due to a significant cable cut in the Route 29 and Rio Road area.

CenturyLink representatives are on scene. Restoration estimates are unknown at this time. If you have an emergency, attempt to call 911 first. If you cannot reach the Emergency Communications Center, go to the nearest fire station to report emergencies. Fire stations in the likely affected area are:

  • Station 4 (Earlysville)—282 Reas Ford Road, Earlysville, VA 22936
  • Station 6 (Stony Point)—3827 Stony Point Road, Charlottesville, VA 22911
  • Station 8 (Seminole Trail)—3055 Berkmar Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22901
  • Station 12 (Hollymead)—3575 Innovation Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22911

The fire stations will be staffed until service is restored and will have radio contact with the ECC to request appropriate services.

Any questions about the restoration of service should be directed to CenturyLink.

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