Union Wireless tests new method for trenching fiber

Holly Dabb photo A new method of microtrenching is being tested by Union Wireless on Faler Avenue and Musket Street to get fiber optic cable to the Sublette Center, Aspen Grove and schools. Other communities, including Rock Springs and Saratoga, are watching the new method of installing fiber with minimal disruption to other utilities and the road.

Pinedale becomes test ground for other communities

A new technique called

microtrenching is being used by Union

Wireless to install fiber to locations in Pinedale.

A representative for Union Wireless requested

a rights-of-way permit to cut down

the center of Musket Street and Faler Avenue

during the Aug. 26 Pinedale Town

Council meeting.

All five council members were in attendance

including Mayor Matt Murdock,

Dean Loftus, Judi Boyce, Tyler Swafford

and John Paravicini.

The process uses a diamond saw to cut

through the asphalt about 12 inches off the

center of the streets. Once fiber is placed

in the 12-inch core, grout is used to fill in

around the fiber. After grout cures for about

10 days, the street is sealed.

The initial work was approved and began

earlier this week.

Murdock said the plan ties in fiber to key

areas of the community including the Pinedale

Clinic, schools, the Sublette Center

and Aspen Grove.

At the Sept. 3 Sublette County Commissioners’

meeting, permission was granted

to allow Union Wireless to cross county

property in the rights-of-way near the bike


Union representative Tony Young said

microtrenching helps avoid the many utilities

already in place alongside the curbs.

He added, by going down the crown of the

streets, not in the sides where water drains

and would stand, long-term impacts to the

streets are minimized.

Initially used in southern states, Young

said Pinedale is a test case that is being

watched by other communities, including

Rock Springs and Saratoga.

The typical bond set to guarantee work

for adding utilities to rights-of-ways was

extended two years due to the new type of


Once sealed, he said the long-term maintenance

should be minimal.

In other actions, Sheriff K.C. Lehr reported

that additional speed signs used

on Pine Street to warn of special events

or to show drivers their speed compared

to posted speeds are considered “unwarranted”

by the Wyoming Department of


Lehr said they discussed the use of the

signs to draw attention to additional foot

traffic experienced in the summer months.

They do not fall within WYDOT rules and


He recommended not taking action at

this time and to continue using the signs.

Swafford agreed, saying, “What are they

going to do? Write us a ticket?”

Swafford added WYDOT pays $40,000

annually to the town of Pinedale to maintain

the street through the community and

that doesn’t cover the annual expenses.

He added sarcastically that the town

could thank WYDOT for the small amount

of maintenance performed this year that basically

overfilled all of the potholes, turning

them into speed bumps.


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