(Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 03--NORMAL -- About 50,000 Frontier Communications customers across much of Illinois lost telephone and Internet service -- often including 911 service -- Wednesday when contractors working on three separate projects severed fiber-optic cables near Normal, Elkhart and Eureka.
A contractor doing high-speed rail upgrades on Old U.S. 66 near Elkhart in Logan County cut a fiber-optic line about 11 a.m., cutting service as far away as Jacksonville.
Around noon, a road crew working on Northtown Road and Linden Street north of Normal severed another line, cutting service to about 5,000 customers in north Normal, Hudson, Gridley, El Paso, Kappa and Lake Bloomington.
About 3 p.m., another road crew working on the Eureka Blacktop near Eureka took out a line serving Eureka, Morton, Goodfield and other communities as far away as Earlville in LaSalle County, Princeton in Bureau County and Cuba in Fulton County.
In each case, Frontier Communications General Manager Mike Nelson faulted the contractors for not following JULIE procedures for locating and protecting utility lines when digging.
"Bad things come in threes," he said of the unrelated events. "It's random for carelessness. We're fixing other people's mistakes."
Normal Deputy City Manager Pamela Reece confirmed the line near Normal was cut by a Stark Excavating crew working on an intersection improvement project at that location.
Reece said all utilities had their lines marked, although the town couldn't confirm the lines were marked accurately.
Stark did not return a call seeking a comment.
Nelson said all service was expected to be restored by late Wednesday night or early Thursday. North of Normal, for example, a crew was replacing a 200-foot section of cable carrying 72 fiber-optic strands.
Frontier customers weren't the only people affected, Nelson said. Frontier cables also serve other telecommunication businesses such as AT&T cellular service, he said.
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