wires. SBC officials could not say how many of the roughly 6,000
lines inside the cables were live, but many west Newport Beach
businesses and residences reported losing service.
As SBC crews labored in a small ditch at the corner of Orange
Avenue and Old Newport Boulevard on Thursday, construction manager
Gary Bodenweiser said the end appeared in sight.
"We're a little more than halfway done," he said. "We've probably
restored about 3,200 pairs."
Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, a number of the SBC customers
who had lost service reported having their lines restored.
Newport Beach's Utilities Department, which operates out of a yard
on 16th Street, regained its phone service around 7:30 a.m. Thursday,
according to city telecommunications coordinator Dan Auger.
The utility workers -- who service the city's oil, gas,
electricity and water systems -- made do with cellular phones while
their ground lines were dead.
"Our utilities yard is up and running, and everything's back to
normal," Auger said.
Neither SBC nor the city knew exactly how large the area was that
suffered the outage. Although the lines were cut near Newport Beach's
western boundary, Costa Mesa administrative services director Steve
Mandoki said no one had contacted his office reporting lost service.
Also unanswered was the question of how the phone cables were cut
in the first place. After the incident Tuesday, SBC and GKK Works,
the contractor for the construction project, offered differing
accounts of who had ordered the cables severed. Steven Smith, a
spokesman for SBC, said his company had told the workers to leave the
cables alone, while GKK superintendent Rick Norquist argued that SBC
had given his subcontractor permission to remove the wires because it
wrongly believed that they were out of service.
Kevin Smith, the president of Professional Electrical Contractors
and the subcontractor for the job, declined to comment because he
said his company was still discussing the matter with SBC.
Steven Smith said he did not know how much the repair work would