Lewiston port working to complete fiber-optic network to serve region, Thursday, July 21, Lewiston Tribune

By ELAINE WILLIAMS of The Tribune

A new telecommunications network in Lewiston will likely be up and running by the end of the month.

A key segment that runs across Memorial Bridge over the Clearwater River will be hooked to lines previously installed in Lewiston as part of a three-to-four-day process scheduled for next week, Port of Lewiston Manager David Doeringsfeld said.

Once that’s finished, Lewiston will be tied into a grid owned by the Port of Whitman County through a route that runs along State Route 128 to the Idaho/Washington border.

The Port of Lewiston has spent roughly $600,000 on the project. So far, it reaches major employers such as St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Lewis-Clark State College, Regence and the Vista Outdoor plant at 11th and Snake River avenues.

More segments will be installed in coming months. They will reach the industrial district by the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport, Clearwater Paper, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and the Southway Bridge. At the bridge, the lines will connect with an Asotin County network built by the Port of Clarkston.

The investment has a number of benefits for the community, Doeringsfeld said. Among them are companies that sell services including internet or cellphones will have access to capacity on the Port of Lewiston’s network at the same flat rate.

“It will allow vendors to go to businesses within the community and offer their services,” Doeringsfeld said. “You’ll have greater competition. … Should a line be cut, there’s another route for it to get out.”

The fiber-optic upgrade was one of the economic development initiatives port commissioners discussed Wednesday. They also reviewed a timetable for improvements on about 13 acres where EKO Compost used to be.

The port is going to flatten the EKO land and install water and sewer lines at an anticipated cost of $780,000. The work will happen in January and be finished in March, timing that could result in a better price since fewer jobs are sometimes available to contractors in the winter.

Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261