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City Begins Phone Systems Upgrade
Phone pix
A member of an AT&T crew works digging a hole to upgrade the citys telephone system. Including a wholesale move to fiber optics, the new phones are expected to improve the number of lines available to Riverbank city officials and allow for more modernized equipment. Ric McGinnis/The News

A heck of a racket ricocheted around the halls of government in Riverbank early last week. A crew from AT&T was hard at work Tuesday, digging up the pavement and dirt between Riverbank Police Services offices and City Hall North to upgrade the city’s phone system.

Dodging the several other underground utility lines in the alley, a jackhammer was put to work first, breaking through the pavement. Then the old lines had to be located and the new facilities attached and run into the city hall building.

For a time that morning, the jackhammer sounds echoed both up and down Santa Fe and Third streets.

During the work, the alley was blocked off, so police units and city vehicles had to find other routes to the offices.

By midweek, the pavement had been patched.

City Finance Director Marisela Garcia said the work would cost $45,000 to $50,000 and was approved in the last budget update.

Staff expects the transition to be smooth, with maybe one day having both the old phones and new ones on office desks.

Police Chief Erin Kiely said that the upgrade shouldn’t affect his office so much, since most communications come through the county dispatch center. Just one or two lines connect administrative offices to the city switchboard.