News » Whistler

Highway blast outs Internet



For the third time this winter thousands of local businesses and residents were stranded without internet service for an extended period of time.

Early Wednesday morning a Telus pole and aerial fibre optic cable carrying high-speed internet service to the resort was damaged by highway blasting crews. The service was back up and running by Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. The highway in the area was down to single lane alternating traffic during the outage.

Six specialized technicians were rushed to the scene at Darrell Bay, roughly five kilometres south of Squamish, before dawn. Media relations spokesperson Shawn Hall said the crew worked hard to get the service restored.

The blast also affected roughly 100 landlines on Bowen Island and some high-speed internet customers in Squamish.

In mid-December Whistler customers were without high-speed internet service for almost five days after a storm downed a fibre optic line.

Less than a month later internet service was again knocked out for hours when a semi-trailer lost control at the Culliton Creek Bridge and sliced a temporary fibre optic cable.

Hall said they’re looking at options to provide redundancy lines to the resort.

“Obviously it’s a critical service for the community,” he said.

There will be an investigation into the incident.

Less than a week ago another blast closed the highway to one lane alternating traffic when an errant rock damaged the asphalt.

A rock the size of a car came tumbling down towards the highway just south of Shannon Falls at 5 a.m. on Thursday Feb. 22 during rock blasting work.

The road was closed in both directions at the time of the scheduled blast.

Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Susan Williams said the rock put a pothole in the highway, forcing crews to repave the road. Traffic was reduced to single lane alternating vehicles.

Williams said there is no explanation for the accident.

“Basically it’s whatever the conditions are,” she said. “That’s why they close the road — you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

At 3 p.m. the road was still one lane alternating traffic.

Williams said: “They’re hoping to finish the work later this afternoon.”