The Fiber Optic Project: Complete

The project was completed about mid-January. I have no way of knowing if it has been “lit” yet since our phone service has not been affected.

I am impressed with the professionalism the contractor showed. I hope they got adequately compensated for all the extra effort this took! Road Gulch Road is actually in better shape than before the project since some embankments were cut back, improving driver visibility on some curves, not to mention a wider north shoulder.

The entire project was almost 6 miles in length with an elevation drop of 600 feet.

This is the little building where all the phone lines in our neighborhood are terminated; I usually refer to it as the “phone booth”. I once asked a phone worker if I could look inside but he refused. 😦

The fiberoptic line is junctioned in the new terminal box in the right foreground. The county road the cable follows is in the middleground behind the far phone terminal box and the stop sign. The cable goes left along the other side of the road.

When they began, a horizontal boring machine inserted fiberoptic duct under the county road but not all the way to the phone booth. Another hole was later dug across the road and the duct cut off (It extended out into the pasture on the other side of the fence.). The cable was shoved into it after a backhoe trenched from the road to the new junction box then the fiberoptic cable was manually pulled through the duct under the road, laid in the trench, and buried.

I have some scenes from the project but not in any order due to my being “under the weather” this year.

For part of the project, they had to bring The Hammer up from the lower part of the project.

This was just before New Years. I asked if they were gonna finish the project before the end of the year and the “road guard” laughed they would be lucky to finish this part by then! It appeared they used The Hammer while still on the trailer so the pavement would not be damaged. It left its mark along the road.

This is where they stopped for 2011. This is not very far down the hill.

For 2012, they added this tool: a larger backhoe for where the dozers can’t go.

They did restore driveways that they plowed.

Those dozers must have been right against this fence as they passed by!

This is at the cattle guard. The dozers are done and are waiting for a ride home.

This is just above the end and I never did figure out why these were laying on the hill. They later disappeared and no junction box appeared here.

Now that it is done, driving this way is kinda boring again!


The Fiberoptic Project by Christmas — FAIL!

I went to the mailbox on Christmas Day and HAD to drive down Road Gulch to see how far they were since I could not see them from the mailbox. But they weren’t far down the gulch. About a half mile. With over a mile to go. Not even close to their goal.

This is near the first house on the north side of the road.

One thing I noticed was that the cable layer had no windows! That operator should be getting paid well! Note that there isn’t much cable on the spool either so this was a calculated stopping place.

Then I saw the project today on my trip to Salida to the doctor. Going down was not much different than Christmas Day! The big difference was they were burying duct instead of cable.

As we drove back up Road Gulch Road, I noticed the big backhoe (The Hammer) was gone. I figured they took it back before the end of the year to save rental money.

It had been parked near the curves since the project passed that point.

But when we turned the curve below where they were that morning, they hadn’t moved much! And, look, The Hammer! The semi had been there earlier and now we knew why. It appeared they had used The Hammer on the semi so it didn’t tear the paving up. There were tracks on the shoulder where the guy who kept waving me to go around while I was taking pictures, so it had been sitting there a while.

The cable layer had been refitted for laying fiberoptic duct.

TWO of them! But not all the duct is being furrowed in.

On each side of these driveways, a trench had been dug by the backhoe then the duct pulled into them plus some. Since there are no tracks in the driveway, they don’t have to worry about blocking it! Note the “Chinese finger traps” on the ends of the foreground ducts and the chain connected to them. This anchors the duct while it is pulled and fed out.

The duct can be laid under the phone and powerlines and connected in a box. I don’t know who gets to dig UNDER those lines. Later the actual cable will be pulled the entire length from here to the cattle guard using one of the ducts.

As I went around the trailer with The Hammer, I asked the road guard if they were gonna finish by New Years. He laughed and said, “This part, we hope!”. I had always assumed this valley was mostly stuff washed down from the mountains on each side. Obviously not if they have to use The Hammer to go 150′!

By modifying the contract for two ducts, the contract could be extended into next year. Or that is my guess. Lucky LCI.