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Construction accident leaves portions of eastern upper peninsula without internet, landline phone access

John Schnobrich

Crews are working round the clock to repair cable damage that has resulted in no internet, landline phone service and spotty cell signals on Drummond Island and Detour.

A fiberoptic cable near Pickford in the eastern upper peninsula was accidentally damaged during a construction project on Monday.

The cable was not cut when construction crews were operating underground. Greg Postma of Chippewa County Central Dispatch told WCMU the line may have been torn all the way out.

"And they are working on trying to rectify that problem, but due to extended damage, is taking quite a bit longer than they had expected," said Postma.

Postma added that crews have been working nonstop to repair the cable and some have flown into the area to help. Technicians anticipate it will take another 24-36 hours before the issue is resolved.

Fire stations and emergency medical services in the area are being staffed around the clock in the event of an emergency with the areas limited services.

In a Facebook post, the Chippewa County Central Dispatch said emergency radio communication systems are still operational as they are not affected by the outage.

At this time, if a resident has an emergency and cannot get through to dispatch on the phone, Postma said to drive to a station to alert emergency responders.

Robert Vaught is the Detour Area School Superintendent. He said school has remained in session during the outage, but it’s been challenging.

"We had difficulties because we had buses that needed to pick up kids for cross country meet and we couldn't communicate with Cedarville. There's no way to communicate with them," said Vaught.

Rick Brewer is a general assignment reporter covering central and northern Michigan for WCMU Public Radio.