A fiber optic cable damaged in Oso mudslide is finally up and running: 'It feels a little bit like healing'

ARLINGTON, Wash. -- A permanent fiber optic cable connecting the towns of Arlington and Darrington is officially up and running.  The original cable was destroyed during the Oso mudslide nearly a year ago.  A temporary cable has been in place just days after the slide.

In a ceremony along State Route 520, the mayors of Arlington and Darrington came together to make the final splice in the permanent cable.  Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert says it helps brings the communities together.

"It feels a little bit like healing, like there's hope, like we're going to come back and we're going to come back better than we were before," Tolbert said.

In the hours after the disaster, workers with Frontier Communications installed a temporary line, stringing 14,000 feet of cable along the debris field in just five hours, helping to restore a lifeline to the town of Darrington.

Kevin Ashe, owner of the Darrington IGA, said the Internet and credit card machines stopped working after the mudslide.

"We didn't worry about the Internet service. Our first concern was helping those people going into the slide, trying to support them, we were doing a lot of cooking here at the store, making sandwiches, whatever we could do to help those people," Ashe said.

It took a few days to get service back.  And now that a permanent line has been put in place, Ashe says it gives him a sense that life is returning to normal.

"I think it's going to be great.  It's going to bring a little bit of normalcy back to the town," Ashe said.