Fiber optic hardening project to close North Railroad Flat Road in late June, early July

A fiber optic transmission line running through the South Fork Mokelumne canyon – one of the two lines that are already underground – was destroyed in winter storms in February.

A section of road between Wilseyville and Rail Road Flat will be closed in the upcoming weeks for a system-hardening project conducted by Volcano Communications Company.

Under a utility encroachment permit, the company is converting an aerial fiber optic transmission line to underground to protect it from potential winter storms and wildfires.

Three existing fiber optic routes make up the backhaul – the “umbilical cord to the outside world” – for the communities of West Point, Rail Road Flat, Wilseyville and Glencoe, according to Frank Leschinsky, public sector manager for Volcano.

The lines feed into a wire center in West Point, from which all of the company’s fiber and copper connections are distributed.

“Without those three routes there would be no service over there,” Leschinsky said.

The fiber connection running through the South Fork Mokelumne canyon – one of the two lines that are already underground – was destroyed in winter storms, and the North Fork line was nearly lost as well.

Had that happened, local communications would have been hanging by the thread of one aerial connection highly susceptible to a wildland blaze, Leschinsky said, recalling the Butte Fire’s damage on many of the AT&T lines in the area in 2015.

Road closures

North Railroad Flat Road from Noble Road to Wells Fargo Station Road will be closed on the following dates:

-June 24 through June 28, 2019 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

-July 1, 2 and 3, 2019 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

-July 8 through July 12, 2019 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Associated Office to State Route 26 and State Route 26 to Ridge Road through Rail Road Flat are the alternate routes for through traffic. Emergency vehicles and residents who live in the construction area will be granted access as needed.

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Reporter

Davis graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies. He covers environmental issues, agriculture, fire and local government. Davis spends his free time playing guitar and hiking with his dog, Penny.

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