Downed Communications Cable Halts Traffic On Loop 101

August 04, 2014

A microburst hit Loop 101 last night near the Red Mountain 202. Raul Garcia with the Arizona Department of Public Safety said the high winds and rain downed a fiber optic cable, shutting off traffic in both directions and leaving many commuters stranded. 

“There was a very strong powerful storm, there were reported winds in the area and some rain," said Garcia. "There was a lot of other debris and damage on the surface streets in this area and traffic in some instances was stopped or folks were stuck on the highway at least two hours or more.”

The height of the storm came between 6-8 p.m. Sunday. DPS received calls for nine separate collisions and at least one rollover occurred. Injuries were minor.

They also received a call for what was first thought to be a power cable. Later it was identified as a fiber optic cable from Cox Communication. Crews from Cox Communication arrived by 8:30 p.m. and worked to find a way to move, rather than cut, the million-dollar fiber optic line.

"The fiber optic cable was still operable, so they were trying to salvage it without cutting it," said Garcia.

Cox Communication Director of Media and Public Relations Andrea Katsenes said in an email, "We have a temporary cable intact across the University sidewalk bridge and repairs to this cabling is being done for the next three days, with security guards on site to insure public safety." 

The freeway was cleared by 2:40 a.m. although the Loop 101 frontage road remained closed until mid-morning on Monday.