Saratoga County

More cell towers approved along Northway

Two more cell towers planned near the Northway in relatively remote areas of the Adirondacks were ap

Two more cell towers planned near the Northway in relatively remote areas of the Adirondacks were approved Friday by the Adirondack Park Agency.

The Verizon telecommunication towers, when they are installed this spring or early summer, will provide cell coverage in what is currently a “dead zone” between Exit 29 in North Hudson and Exit 34 in Keeseville, Essex County.

The APA had approved Verizon’s request for three other cellphone towers near the Northway in December for a total of five new towers now approved.

But Daniel MacEntee, a spokesman for state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, said Friday the senator is still hoping to have one or two portable cell towers installed this winter to improve cellphone coverage in the Northway’s dead zone.

“Independent Tower [company] is still looking at something at Exit 29 [in Essex County],” MacEntee said.

“We are continuing to pursue that,” he said about the so-called “cells on wheels,” or COWs.

Another portable tower could be located this winter on a new public safety building in the town of Lewis, MacEntee said. Both of these COWs would have Sprint antennas on them, he said.

“We are very pleased to see the progress that Verizon has made,” MacEntee said of the APA’s action Friday.

Verizon Wireless, with encouragement from Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s office, is proposing 11 permanent towers along the Northway in the dead zone.

Both MacEntee and Verizon officials say the new, permanent towers would not be built until the spring, when the ground thaws enough for construction.

A downstate man returning last winter from a wedding in Montreal died from exposure after his car went off the Northway in North Hudson and his wife was unable to contact police on his cellphone.

The man and his wife, who survived the ordeal, were discovered by police the next day.

The permits approved Friday are for towers about 1,000 feet away from the highway. One would be 89 feet tall and located on private land in the town of Lake George, according to an Associated Press story.

The other tower approved would be 79 feet tall and be located in the town of Lewis, the AP reported. The two proposed towers are near the southern and northern edges of the about 50-mile cellphone dead zone.

John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council, an environmental watchdog organization, said in November that the council has seen the proposed locations for the 11 Verizon cell towers.

“I doubt that we will have much objection,” Sheehan said at that time.

Little, whose district includes a large portion of the Adirondacks, has been urging her fellow lawmakers to improve cellphone communication on the Northway in remote areas of the Adirondacks.

“The senator’s goal is to reduce the gap in coverage between Exit 29 and Exit 34, the so-called dead zone,” MacEntee said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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