Severed underground phone line

Old 11-26-03, 05:33 AM
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Severed underground phone line

I found my phone line with my shovel last night. Yarg! Phone company can't get to it for a couple days. I did the same thing in our last house and tried to patch it with the standard little round phoneline splicers. It didnt work. Is there a way I can do this myself. I really dont want to be without phone service through the Thanksgiving holiday.
The line is solid black plastic, making it difficult to expose and strip the wires with a knife. The standard wire stripper obviously wont work.
Old 11-26-03, 01:58 PM
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Technically, it's not your line and you're not supposed to be working on it.

That being said, if you don't have the right strippers or the wire is too big (I know the wire you're talking about, and it is) a carpet knife or box cutter razor always works good - just be careful and take your time. You should only need the blue wires for one line, but if you have 2 go ahead and connect all the wires. Use wire nuts and wrap them with electrical tape (this is a temporary solution - not permanent by any means.)

When the phone company gets there, they are probably going to bury a new line - be ready with your checkbook, they're probably going to charge you for it

Good luck!
Old 11-26-03, 05:14 PM
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map of utilities

This would be the telephone line that is supposed to be what? 24 inches deep? The deepest I have found a telephone line buried in my yard is 12 inches. Most of the time it has been down 2 - 4 inches. Fortunately, it is protected with a tough jacket. When you feel your shovel hit something in the general area of where you have learned that it might be, time to go slow and easy.

The first time I hit it, I had the spray can folks come mark the line and I made a map so I could be careful in the area. That may be a good thing to have of all the utilities, to prevent hitting one inadvertently while gardening.
Old 12-10-03, 11:09 AM
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This is why utilities urge folks to call for a locate before digging - even in their own yard. You have a public utility easement at all property lines for the utilities to get service to your house. Unfortunately, the utilities are seldom buried very deep. The plans probably called for at least 24" of cover but the construction guys were trying to save time. (I've engineered this stuff for several years now). Sometimes, the yard was regraded and the cover reduced.

Bottom line is that you should have each utility (power, water, phone, cable, etc) do a locate BEFORE you grab the shovel. It will probably take 2-3 days for all of them to finish, and you'll have multicolored paint marks on the yard, but you'll know where things are. Take a minute and make a sketch for your records.

The best part of the deal is that if you call for a locate and you wreck something because it was mis-marked, the liability is theirs. (I've been involved in some really ugly battles in these situations)

Look at any utility truck and you should find a toll free number to request a locate. Only one call is usually necessary. The number connects to a central clearing house who notifies all utilities of your request.

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