Many in our area have been affected, nearly daily, by low water pressures and even boil orders due to line breaks as excavators work to lay new fiber optic cable along Highway 71.
The company has been working for several weeks, and what typically would be celebrated as progress, has proven to be quite the inconvenience to the residents of the City of Mansfield.
The problem lays under the ground, unmarked. Mansfield Mayor Buddy Black explained that when the initial water lines were laid, they neglected to implement a tracer wire. That tracer allows for the quick and precise location of water lines.
Typically, before utility companies or contractors dig, they are required to contact Arkansas 8-1-1. Because city employees can only guesstimate the location, the lines have been vulnerable to breaks. Black said he anticipates problems until the work is complete, and that it is slated to extend to the Elm Park
Contractors are laying fiber optic cables as part of phase one of the broadband expansion across the state. In August, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced a $25M Grant for Broadband Expansion, as part of the Arkansas Rural Connect program. The program aims to help communities with at least 500 residents receive funding for broadband infrastructure to provide
Utility companies like Centurylink and Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative are a part of that expansion and are working to provide the higher speeds by 2022.