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San Juan National Forest issues permit for EAGLE-Net fiber optic line

U.S. Forest Service

Following environmental analysis, the San Juan National Forest has issued a special-use permit to EAGLE-Net Alliance for the construction, operation, and maintenance of underground fiber optic cable on National Forest lands in Archuleta, La Plata, Mineral and San Juan counties as part of a statewide project to expand and increase Colorado’s broadband network.

It is not known when construction of the fiber optic line will begin, but issuance of the permit authorizes EAGLE-Net to install a total of 13 miles of underground fiber optic cable within public rights-of-way along previously disturbed highways and roadways in the Pagosa Springs and Durango areas.

The approved route across the San Juan National Forest will follow U.S. 160 from Durango east to Relay Station Road (Forest Road 743) near Yellowjacket Pass and from Pagosa Springs east to Wolf Creek Pass.

The permit also allows EAGLE-Net to lay fiber optic line from U.S. 160 up the Relay Station Road to a communication site at the end of the road, and along U.S. 550 from Durango to the Cascade substation across from Durango Mountain Resort. This will allow microwave infrastructure to be co-located at current communications sites on the National Forest.

Surface-disturbing activities will include micro-trenching over Wolf Creek Pass and other roadside trenching methods in less sensitive areas.

EAGLE-Net is required to obtain a utility permit from the Colorado Department of Transportation, which will outline traffic control measures.

EAGLE-Net (Educational Access Gateway Learning Environment Network) Alliance is an intergovernmental entity in the State of Colorado, which received a $100.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

The goal is to bring broadband service to school districts, libraries and other community institutions across rural Colorado.

The environmental analysis and decision notice can be viewed on the San Juan National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/projects/sanjuan/landmanagement/projects by scrolling down under “Analysis Completed,” and clicking on “Special Uses EAGLE-Net fiber optic line.”

For more information, contact Becca Smith, 264-1521 or rsmith@fs.fed.us.

This story was posted on August 22, 2013.