CLINTON — Area residents were among nearly 150,000 Qwest phone customers without phone service on Monday after service accidentally was cut in DeWitt.

According to Qwest spokeswoman Joanna Hjelmeland, phone service in much of northeast Iowa was disrupted after an excavation project on Elmwood Road in DeWitt resulted in a cut fiber optic line at approximately 9 a.m. Qwest workers immediately began repairing the line and service was restored at 2 p.m.

Landline phone service was limited to lines that were not corrupted and some residents were able to place calls on a random basis, depending on the number of available lines and the volume of calls. Many area businesses and residences were affected by the service disruption, as were phone lines to many city departments.

The disruption also caused an outage of certain cell phone services.

Michele Bott, telecommunications supervisor at the Clinton County Communications Center, said provisions were in place for area 911 services through back-up lines and calls were dispatched via radio.

DeWitt police were telling residents to use cell phones to make emergency calls to 911 if they were unable to get service on their regular telephone line.

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