Communications lines fall, no cable, telephone or Internet for hours

Tens of thousands of cable customers were without service Friday night into this morning after a tractor-trailer took down at least two power poles and four spans of wire along East Lake Boulevard in Washoe Valley.

"All of Carson, Gardnerville, Minden, Fallon, Fernley and Lyon County are out. Every piece of Charter business south of where the cut was is out," said George Jostlin, director of government affairs and public information for Charter Communications.

The accident happened about 4:30 p.m. when the truck made the turn off Highway 395 on to the north end of East Lake Boulevard. The driver was not injured, but cited for exceeding height limitations on his rig.

Because live electrical wires came down as well, cable crews could not enter the area until the power cords were repaired. Sierra Pacific Power spokesman Karl Walquist said the downed power line only affected Nevada State Park.

"This is a crisis, but thankfully, this is something we were prepared for," Jostlin said, noting that Charter crews were on the scene within 30 minutes of the accident. "The minute he pulled down those wires, every one of my employees south of that location knew we had a major problem."

With hours standing between at least a dozen Charter technicians and service restoration, Jostlin said, crews decided to run the cable along the ground and then raise it when they were given access to the poles.

Charter brought out two bucket trucks, placing one on each side of the road to carry the wire, then they ran the remaining wire along the ground. Service was expected to be restored between midnight and 2 a.m. this morning, though customers regained some service during the night.


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