APA approves 4th cell tower

Verizon Wireless has received approval for its fourth cellphone tower in the so-called “dead zone” a

Verizon Wireless has received approval for its fourth cellphone tower in the so-called “dead zone” along the Northway in the Adirondacks.

But none of these towers has yet been built and construction isn’t expected to start until later this year.

“We hope to have these in service by the end of the year,” John O’Malley, a Verizon spokesman, said on Friday.

He was talking about three of the four cell towers that have been approved by the Adirondack Park Agency.

At present there is a 47-mile stretch of the Northway where users can’t obtain cellphone reception because there are no telecommunications towers to carry signals.

A downstate man returning from a wedding in Montreal died from exposure in January 2007 after the car he and his wife were in went off the Northway in North Hudson. The wife was unable to contact police on a cellphone. The man and his wife, who survived the ordeal, were discovered by state police the next day.

The Adirondack Park Agency has approved a 94-foot tower to be located in the town of Schroon in the general area of Exit 27, O’Malley said.

The APA wants the tower to be disguised as a pine tree, meaning the tower will be green and brown with artificial branches sticking out of it. But this tower probably won’t be ready for the winter of 2008-09.

O’Malley said the three towers that will be built this year will be located in the towns of Warrensburg, North Hudson and Lewis. The APA approved these late last year.

State Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, said she is pleased that the Verizon tower proposals are moving forward.

Little has advocated for years erecting cell towers along the Northway in the Adirondacks for motorists’ safety.

“Lewis and North Hudson are the big ones,” Little said.

North Hudson, near Exit 29, and Lewis, near Exit 32, are in the middle of the cellphone coverage dead zone.

Little said Friday another major concern is that Verizon allow other cellphone companies to locate on their towers once they are erected.

O’Malley said Verizon always allows “co-location” on its towers. However, he said the location of the Verizon towers may not be appropriate for other cell providers, especially those that require a “line of sight” for proper functioning.

Little’s office worked much of last fall with Independent Tower Company LLC of Albany on a proposal to locate portable cellphone towers at key points along the Northway in the Adirondacks.

Dan MacEntee, a Little spokesman, said despite a major effort by Independent Tower Co. the portable units were not erected. He said the money being allocated for the project was too slow in coming.

“We are really pleased to see that Verizon is moving forward with its towers,” MacEntee said on Friday.

O’Malley said Verizon wants to erect a total of 11 telecommunications towers along the Northway in the Adirondacks. He said company officials continue to make applications to the APA and provide all the background work involved in this.

“We are making pretty good progress,” O’Malley said. “We have four sites approved in the Adirondack Park.”

“We and the APA are all on the same page,” O’Malley said.

The Adirondack Council, an environmental watchdog organization, has said in recent months that it didn’t think it would have any major objections to the locations proposed for the 11 Verizon towers.

Categories: Schenectady County

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