Taking a proactive stance against a faulty tower, the Monongalia County Commission voted to demolish a failing tower before structural problems felled it. The 450-foot cell tower stands high atop a summit called Catherine’s Knob. But it is being dismantled this week, reports the Morgantown News. A sizable crack in one of the tower’s legs made replacements a better option than repair, the Commission determined.
With a unanimous 3-0 vote, the Commission voted to allot $24,000 for demolition costs, with another $17,000 put aside for clean-up. The cost to design a new tower is expected to be $15,000. Actual construction of a replacement tower has the biggest price tag, with an estimated cost of $500,000. The new tower is expected to be in service by the end of 2021.
“This cell tower has been failing for a while,” said Commissioner Sean Sikora, reported the Morgantown News. “About a year ago, it was brought to our attention. It has a crack in one of the legs. We’ve been looking into and researching replacing it. Some of the most recent brainstorms we’ve had, they did another engineering study, and they realized that it has exponentially gotten worse.”
Sikora added, “With the approaching cold weather, we are worried about having a catastrophic event where it will fall. We’re being proactive and bringing in somebody to take it down. The people we are using do this stuff all over the world. They have to detonate the cables, and then do a controlled fall.”
Commissioner Tom Bloom said he planned to contact West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin (D) and Shelly Moore Capito (R), “to discuss broadband to put it on the new tower. This would be the ideal time to do several things here, to try and get some broadband service and see what we can do.”
Morgantown is the largest city in the region, and the home of West Virginia University. “We have to enter into another agreement to get the debris quickly cleaned up, start working on the engineering for the new tower, and then get the tower up,” said Sikora.
“We need to have emergency communications in the area, and we are already making arrangements for that. There is also cell service on that tower, and Cellular One will have to make arrangements for temporary service in the area. We’re trying to be as quick as possible with getting it down and then getting it back up.”
The demolition will be managed by Controlled Demolition, Inc.