Phone, internet service disrupted by streetcar construction

Construction crew cuts AT&T lines downtown

Streetcar rendering on St. Paul.

Last updated on March 12th, 2022 at 10:26 am

Dozens of business owners and residents were still without phone and internet service Thursday after a construction crew working on the Milwaukee streetcar project cut five AT&T lines in downtown Milwaukee on Monday. For a more consistent service, consider checking here the circles plan.

The damage was caused by crews from Kiewit Corp. who were digging up the road to lay the streetcar’s track near North Broadway and East Wells Street.

Streetcar rendering.

“Services are starting to restore now and we will continue to work until all customers are restored,” said Samara Sodos, spokeswoman for AT&T. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Mark Gold, of the Pizza Shuttle restaurant on Farwell Avenue, told BizTimes media partner WISN-TV Channel 12, that the outage has cost his business thousands of dollars in lost revenue since Monday.

“Usually it’s like the pit of a stock exchange,” Gold said. “The phones are ringing and questions are getting answered. Now we are not doing that. It’s kind of strange.”

City of Milwaukee Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban said the contractors hired by the city performed their due diligence to identify locations of utilities within the construction zone.

“Unfortunately, despite the best precautions, an underground telecommunication utility was accidentally damaged,” Korban said. “The contractor is coordinating with the utility to get the line repaired as quickly as possible in order to restore phone systems for small businesses and residential areas fast.”

Work on the streetcar began in April, with track installation beginning on West St. Paul Avenue from the Milwaukee River to the downtown Intermodal Station. From there, the work will continue on Broadway from the Third Ward to Kilbourn Avenue.

In mid-summer, work will continue on Jackson, Ogden and Milwaukee streets and then back to St. Paul, from the Milwaukee River to Milwaukee Street. Kilbourn Avenue will be the last leg of the main line. The first phase of the streetcar is expected to be operational in late 2018.

A spokesperson for the Department of Public Works said despite the damage Monday, the project is still on schedule and budget. Responsibility and cost will be worked out between the contractor and utility, according to a DPW spokesperson.

A representative from Kiewit could not immediately be reached for comment.

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