CenturyLink outage disrupts phone service, sends 911 calls to Moffat County

Teresa Ristow
Telephone service to about 6,000 customers was disrupted Tuesday afternoon around Steamboat Springs, according to a CenturyLink spokesperson.
John F. Russell

This story was updated at 9:55 p.m..

A CenturyLink fiber optic line mistakenly severed by a construction crew working near the Muddy Pass area of U.S. Highway 40 was the cause of widespread telephone and Internet outages in Routt County Tuesday, according to a CenturyLink spokesperson.

The spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon that the construction crew caused the outage, which began late Tuesday morning, disrupting telephone service to about 6,000 customers around Steamboat Springs.

This is the second time this summer that a line at a road construction site was mistakenly cut and caused an outage.

Calls to 911 within Routt County were initially disrupted, before being rerouted to Moffat County without proper notification of Routt County Communications Department staff, according to Tom Sullivan, county manager.

Sullivan said the county thought it had addressed any unresolved emergency communication issues with CenturyLink prior to Tuesday.

“We thought we had addressed this issue with CenturyLink three weeks ago,” Sullivan said. “We’re very disappointed that this happened.”

The outage affected the upstream provider for Zirkel Wireless, causing a disruption in Internet service that was resolved by Tuesday evening. Some cellular telephone companies were also affected by the outage, including AT&T.

Landlines at the city of Steamboat Springs offices were down, but email service was not affected. While service is down, city staff can be emailed directly or emails can be sent to the city’s public access line at

Yampa Valley Electric Association was also unable to receive incoming calls in both Steamboat and Craig Tuesday. Members were encouraged to call YVEA’s after-hours outage management service from a cell phone at 855-354-1049, or report an outage via Facebook or SmartHub at

A CenturyLink spokesperson said the company was working to resolve the problem, but no estimate was available as of Tuesday evening for when service might be restored.

Construction crews on Highway 9 south of Kremmling mistakenly severed a fiber optic cable July 6, causing telephone and Internet outages that afternoon and into the morning of July 7.

Calls made to Steamboat’s 911 line were not transferred for three hours during that outage.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.