Area Code Splits Tomorrow

February 14, 2003
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A new area code for portions of West Michigan begins Saturday when the 616 area is split in two.

The change commences with the end of an interim permissive dialing period that has enabled callers to connect from one area code to another without using the new 269 area code state regulators created in 2001.

The initiation of the new area code will require the use of an 11-digit number — a 1, plus the area code, and the 7-digit telephone number — when calling between the 616 area code and the new 269 code that covers an area to the south of Grand Rapids and Holland, including Kalamazoo.

The change stems from a June 2001 Michigan Public Service Commission decision to split the existing 616 area code in order to create new telephone numbers needed to serve the growing number of residential and business lines, wireless phones, pagers, computer modems, fax machines.

The split between the 616 and 269 area codes runs along an east-west line that meanders through Allegan and Kent counties.

The new 269 area codes includes the Saugatuck, Hamilton, Hopkins, Allegan, Middleville, Wayland and Hastings exchanges, and covers an area all the way south to the Michigan-Indiana border. Phone customers in phone exchanges near the split — Holland, Zeeland, Dorr and Caledonia among them — remain in the 616 area code.               

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