Oversized vehicle cuts telephone, internet, and credit card lines in county
by Rhett Sifford, Staff writer Frontier telephone and internet customers in La Sal, Monticello, Blanding, and Bluff lost service for more than 24 hours on July 17 and 18.
The loss of service impacted just about everyone in San Juan County and resulted in a significant loss of commerce because credit card transactions could not be completed.
According to a Frontier representative, the outage was caused when an oversized tractor trailer traveling on Highway 191 struck aerial power and telecommunications lines and destroyed several power poles.
The tractor trailer was southbound at the top of Blue Hill near Hole in the Rock when the incident occurred.
The road under the lines was not part of recent construction in the area.
Frontier crews were dispatched Tuesday but had to wait until Wednesday morning for Rocky Mountain Power to clear electrical hazards and allow access to the facilities.
Frontier crews then worked through the day, restoring service by 4 p.m.
Utah Highway Patrol investigating officer Bret Chamberlain reported that Frontier did not contact police until nearly two hours after the incident.
Consequently, the UHP was unable to positively identify the vehicle in question.
According to Officer Chamberlain, an oversized tractor trailer was detained at the Cortez, CO port of entry as part of the investigation.
That vehicle possessed a permit for a 16-foot high load.
Chamberlain indicated that the tractor trailer wasn’t measured to verify its height on July 17.
He added that a load higher than 16 feet would have required a police escort through Moab, which did not occur at any point during the day.
Officer Chamberlain said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.