Verizon Outage Hits Clarendon/Courthouse Area

by ARLnow.com September 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm 5,155 30 Comments

(Updated at 8:35 p.m.) Hundreds of Verizon landline phone and DSL internet customers in the Courthouse/Clarendon area may be without service after two underground cables were accidentally cut.

According to Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell, a contractor taking a soil sample in the area of Fairfax Drive and N. Barton Street cut through a pair of large underground cables containing 4,500 copper lines. Of those, about 1,600 active lines that carry phone and internet service are affected, Mitchell said.

A tipster tells us the soil sample was being taken in the county’s Rocky Run Park on Monday afternoon, and that Verizon crews have been “working all day and night… since about 9:00 p.m. Monday night.” Entire office buildings in Clarendon have lost phone service, according to another tipster.

Mitchell confirmed that crews are working in two 12-hour shifts to repair the lines. They’ve reached the cables — 20 feet below ground — but are now beginning the “very labor intensive” process of splicing all 1,600 lines together.

Service will gradually be restored to customers “over the next several days,” Mitchell said. Customers affected by the outage are asked to call 1-800-VERIZON or go to www.verizon.com/repair to report it.

  • Steve

    I walk by this area every morning on my way to the Metro. They’ve been digging. Tons of Verizon trucks and of some contractor, like Altek or someting like that….

  • ClarendonBound

    Man, that sucks. I am wondering though, are people effected eligible for a refund for the period they are cut of?

    • Sam

      Unlikely as the service agreement that DSL and landline customers agreed to has a clause that you can’t hold Verizon liable for failure of performance due to performing maintenance, acts of God, etc.

      And, at 15.99, it comes to about 2 cents/hour for the month of September. If they are down for 2 days, is it really worth the hassle to get a refund of $1.06?

  • BerryBerryCold

    Verizon wants you to switch to FIOS.

    • Clarendon

      Bingo !

    • pollosmoky

      HA! FIOS was out all day here at my place on the Waverly Hills/Cherrydale border – and I didn’t leave the house bc Verizon assured me that a FIOS tech would be contacting me. It’s back up now, but still, annoying as hell.

  • Mr. S

    I took Fairfax Drive off 50 westbound today… thought there were an unusually high number of maintenance vehicles on and around the park. Those guys were working hard!

  • Oh man, when large service cables get cut it’s a mess to fix it and restore service. At least most of the residents probably have a cell/smart phone — not much, but it’s something.

  • AJ

    did someone forget to call miss utility?

    • Rick Romero

      Which leads to the question, who needs soil samples (which usually precede engineering for excavation) from a County park?

      Does Mr. Tipster work for a developer or construction company who may or may not know something about that?

      • CW

        I once worked for a geotechnical engineering firm where soil sampling was a major part of the business. Soil sampling is required for any kind of construction where you need a foundation, and also for doing studies of drainage, etc. Even where there isn’t going to be a lot of excavation, you still want to know about foundational settling potential, etc. It’s just part of the game.

        Rule #1 – ALWAYS call utility locate to insulate yourself from risk. If you cut something after they’ve been out, it’s their fault, not yours, as long as you obey their markings.

        At least it was copper. I was told that if you cut a fiber line, you’re talking tens of thousands to do the splice repair job.

        • Thes

          Also glad the Verizon strike isn’t still on.

          • Rick

            scabs making scabs

        • It probably was a soil core, not a soil sample. A sample would seem to indicate they scrape the surface. A core, they basically drill down and pull up all the layers. The probably drilled right through the cable.

          • CW

            Right, there are different ways to take core samples. Hand auger, drill rig with auger, drill rig with impact hammer. Depends on the soil type. I’d figure it was the last one.

      • Novanglus
        • Swag

          For something scheduled to be finished in Fall 2011, they sure haven’t done…anything?

        • Barton

          The County liability for the phone outage should be pocket change compared to the liability exposure from the skateboard-attractive proposed park design, if ever completed: “Billy was going to be a pianist!” It is fortunate that Arlingtonians have so much surplus money, even after the Artisphere money pit. OR, perhaps the soil core drilling was just to confirm the presence of a major oil deposit before telling the public, and the drunken-sailor spending of the County Board need no longer concern us.
          Either way, someone please send a Ms Utility phone sticker to Arlogance Public Works.

  • BlueLoom

    “Customers affected by the outage are asked to call 1-800-VERIZON or go to http://www.verizon.com/repair to report it.”

    Um, yeah. And which phone are they supposed to use to make that call? A pay phone? They hardly exist any more. (Yeah, I know; nearly everyone has a cell phone and can make the call that way.) And checking online? Suppose they have Vz internet service. I just really appreciated the irony of this statement from Vz. Do you suppose they realized what they were saying? We’ve cut your lines, so please call us to let us know if you have service.

    What a mess. I hope the contractor that did the soil sampling has really good insurance.

    • JB

      Um, no, it’s really not a silly request at all – what would you rather they ask you to do, send smoke signals? There ARE still pay phones, and you can usually find them at public gathering spots like a metro station, library, etc. If you’re not that resourceful, they probably figure the 10% of people that don’t own a cellphone could at least ask a friend or neighbor to use theirs to make the call.

    • spookiness

      Write them a letter and stick a stamp on it. The USPS needs the business.

  • jmb

    “Soil analysis revealed large amounts of copper…”

    • there you go


  • Tre

    Copper theft goes subterranean?

  • James

    I work in the building right outside the Clarendon metro and all phone lines in our entire building are down. It’s a good thing we’re not a phone intensive business…otherwise I’d be PO’d.

  • Tom M

    If the contractor was working for the County, does that mean the County is responsible financially for the outage?

  • Carmen

    I guess I am lucky that my service is still working. (I have been logged into my home computer from work all day)

  • AT

    STILL down on 9/23 in Rosslyn, 11:45 AM. I’ve been without internet service now for two days!

  • Kindles for everyone

    It is my understanding that Miss utility will only identify utilities that are in the center of the roadway they do not identify any utilities that go off to the side of the road, commonly called laterals. If this was in fact inside the park then it is likely that the verizon line went un marked. Several folks are at fault here, the contractor for not doing their due diligence to identify the utilities, verizon for not registering their utility line, and whoever installed the line in the first place for not marking it properly.

  • kevin

    all those companies have outages, some people are good with the services other are not, depends of the area, but I still do not understand why so many


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