“It was a little nightmare for a while,” Mendota Mayor David Boelk said this morning.
He said the nighttime outage didn’t hurt his business, RH Boelk Trucking, because his office closes after 5 p.m.
But he said Mendota businesses had difficulties with computers, e-mail and other things that rely on phone lines.
“Credit card machines, ATMs, all those things weren’t working,” he said.
Anyone calling into Mendota likely heard a fast busy signal Tuesday night. During the outage, Mendota Community Hospital had difficulty calling the downtown fire and police stations, so Mendota Fire Department brought two portable radios for use by emergency room staff.
Brian Fisher, firefighter, paramedic and engineer, said people in Mendota were able to call each other using the 538 and 539 exchanges, but calls weren’t coming in from the outside.
“When (long distance service) is cut, our exchange is still active,” he said.
For 911 calls, Knox boxes were monitored.
Mendota police’s land line was largely unavailable for out-of-town callers from roughly 6 p.m. Tuesday until about 12:30 a.m. today.
At 9:10 p.m., Frontier Communications’ customer care advocate Jeff Moore confirmed that a fiber optic line outside of Mendota was cut. He said technicians set up in LaMoille and did a “fiber shot” to determine the location of the cut.
“The latest we have is they were able to get a backhoe out there and they have been able to locate the cut,” Moore said at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday night.
Mendota police this morning said the cut happened where a contractor will do bridge work on U.S. 34 between Mendota and LaMoille.
However, the bridge reconstruction contractor has not yet mobilized to start working at the scene, according to Herb Jung, Illinois Department of Transportation district engineer.
Utility-company service relocation work has been going on in recent days to make way for the bridge project, Jung said.
Jung said the bridge work is scheduled to start Monday, and traffic signals and one-lane traffic will be in effect once the construction project begins.
In nearby Earlville, emergency services that are dispatched from the Mendota police station were unaffected, because the dispatching is done by radio.
Boelk, coincidentally, said cellular phone customers of providers that still are relying on old analog equipment had service Tuesday.