Fiber optic installation made an odd scene

The in basket: My wife, the Judybaker, phoned one recent morning to report an odd site. A line of workers in neon orange vests were positioned along Mile Hill Drive in South Kitsap, each one appearing to be pulling wire out a utility box on the shoulder. The boxes, and hence the workers, were each about 50 yards apart between Bulman Road and Woods Road.

I went to check it out and it was as described. I’d never seen anything like it, so I stopped and asked if they were with Wave Cable.

The out basket: No, said Dan O’Brien, who was supervising the mostly very young crew along with Daren Miller, acting head of the Kitsap County public works signal shop. It was a county job, Dan said, to link the traffic signals on Mile Hill Drive from Long Lake Road to California Avenue with fiber optic cable.

And they weren’t pulling it out, they were putting it in, each worker pulling it from the previous utility box as they worked east toward California Avenue, curling it into a temporary loop that gave the impression the cable was coming out.

The cable will allow the electronics shop to diagnose and repair problems with the signals without having to drive to the location, Dan said. If there is no problem, drivers shouldn’t notice any change.

The utility boxes were installed when the county widened and repaved Mile Hill Drive between Long Lake Road and California Avenue several years ago and have sat empty waiting for the day when the fiber optic cable was strung, Dan said. They put in a mile and a half of the cable that day, Daren said.

Other county locations have the remote diagnosis capability already, he said. All of Silverdale does.

As I drove away, I noted the extreme youth of the chain gang,  the county’s public works summer hires.

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