Richmond Hill residents believe Hwy 144 construction causing internet, phone outages

Richmond Hill residents believe Hwy 144 construction causing internet, phone outages

BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Many residents in southern Bryan County are frustrated with periodic internet and phone outages they’ve been experiencing. The outages last for hours at a time.

Some are concerned that it might be because of the Highway 144 widening project.

Troy Brown and his family are just one of many Richmond Hill residents impacted by the Hwy 144 project. He says since moving into their house almost two years ago, they’ve experienced hours-long internet and phone line outages.

“We just can’t do anything. We can’t contact emergency services. We can’t do my daughter’s homeschool. My wife can’t work from home with her video conferencing; so, it’s been kind of a nightmare,” Brown said.

And when you’re driving down Belfast Keller Road, you have to drive at least a mile from the Brown family’s house to get to any sort of emergency services, like Bryan County Emergency Services. For Brown, he says that’s his biggest concern.

“It’s the fear that if something were to happen, we can’t get emergency services out here unless we find a neighbor who uses a service other than Verizon to contact emergency services, so that’s the biggest concern for me," Brown said.

He says it leaves them with no form of communication, which prompted him to contact not only his internet and cell phone provider but also the FCC.

“When Comcast contacted me, they had told me that the contractors doing the work on 144 continuously cut the fiber optic cable. Verizon doesn’t recognize that there’s a problem," Brown said.

WTOC reached out to the Georgia Department of Transportation who says they have a plan in place well before they start any construction project.

“We have a very detailed and coordinated effort with the utility companies when we’re looking at a project and it’s years before construction ever starts, so we try to work with them and get their utilities relocated like the 144 widening,” said Jill Nagel, with GDOT. “It’s the law you cannot dig without calling 811, so our contractors are very proactive in doing that before they dig anything.”

Brown says he will continue to call his service providers to get answers.

Meanwhile, GDOT says the Highway 144 project is on schedule to be completed late spring-early summer; weather permitting.

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