Installation of an underground long distance telephone cable between Lewiston and Spokane will begin tomorrow atop Lewiston Hill. Gordon Davenport, manager of Lewiston operations of the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., said the line will be constructed despite a company decision to cut back its building program.
The long distance circuit, he said, will replace 100 miles of open wire located on cross-arm poles. He said the latter system is difficult and costly to maintain in winter months. The underground cable will stretch some 97 miles from atop the Lewiston Spiral Highway to Spokane.
Davenport said the new system will also improve service between the two communities. He said money had been allocated by the company prior to the cutback and material was on order. He said the work will be carried out to meet anticipated growth in this area.
The manager said the new system will have more lines in the cable and will “provide more protection for important long distance circuits.” Aerial cables are subject to considerable damage from hunters, fires and errant automobile drivers,” he said.
The company said heavy winter frosts in this area have caused heavy damage to the open-wire system.
The new cable will contain some 100 pairs of wires and will be equipped to operate as a “carrier system.” Two pairs of wires in this arrangement can carry up to 12 messages simultaneously, or a total of 300 at one time.
Amplifier and booster equipment will be installed at repeater buildings located at Valley Ford, Spangle, Rosalia and Pullman. Other equipment will include supplementary terminal works at Lewiston and Spokane and auxiliary repeaters mounted on poles along the route. Existing wire lines will be taken down.
Davenport said the cable will provide the main long distance route between the two communities and intermediate points.
This story was published in the Sept. 16, 1958, edition of the Lewiston Tribune.