A severed fiber optic line between Lexington and Echo disconnected thousands of internet customers on Monday, according to the CEO of a local internet provider.

The line was cut late Monday morning by a subcontractor laying fiber for a cellphone tower, according to Byron Wysocki, the CEO of Pendleton-based Wtechlink. The outage affected providers in Umatilla and Morrow counties, including Wtechlink and CenturyLink.

Wysocki said a backhoe and splicer were en route to the scene of the break late Monday afternoon and estimated a time of repair at 11:30 p.m., though he said it could be later.

He said the line that was cut is buried 10 feet deep and near the edge of Highway 207, so splicing new lines will need to be done on both sides of the highway. The subcontractor who cut it was unaware the line was there, Wysocki said.

A Facebook post from the company said internet connections would be intermittent for some customers affected by the cut line. Customers still having trouble connecting to the internet should unplug the router’s power cord and plug it back in.

The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office dispatch was among the affected users. The office transferred 911 service to the Umatilla County dispatch center while waiting for the repair.

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