Cellular tower nearly finished
A tower that would provide cell service to the Campbells Creek Road area should be completed by the end of the month.
The 250-foot tower is being constructed on Carter Drive off Campbells Creek Road, Kanawha County Engineer John Luoni said.
One of the cell providers, nTelos, should have equipment installed and operational at the tower by the end of January or early February, Luoni said.
NTelos will operate its equipment using a generator because the electrical lines won't be installed at the tower until later, he said.
AT&T should install its equipment on the tower sometime in June or July, Luoni said.
The tower has been a project of the Kanawha County Commission for several months.
Commissioners felt so strongly about the project that they applied for, and received, a $346,000 West Virginia Public Service Commission grant to construct the tower.
However, once the two cellphone companies agreed to put their equipment on the tower, a private company recognized that it would be economically feasible to build the structure on its own dime, Luoni said.
"So we gave the money back," he said.
The PSC administers a fund that can be used to construct cellphone towers. The money comes from a $3 monthly fee imposed on all cellphone bills.
Beacon Towers is now building the tower. The company took over the project in July.
The cell tower, which is being constructed at the end of a road about a mile up Campbells Creek, should provide cell service to anyone within a three-mile radius, Luoni said.
The cell tower will increase safety for drivers moving up and down Campbells Creek Road, he said. It will also help residents living in the area.
"We've had a lot of copper thefts in the Campbells Creek area, and if a thief takes out some phone lines people will still be able to make calls using their cellphones," Luoni said.
"We see this as a safety issue," he added.
Sammy Black, a subcontractor who handles site acquisition for companies that build cell towers, said the terrain in the Campbells Creek area was very rugged.
This makes it very expensive to construct a cellphone tower, he said.
Black would not release how much it will cost Beacon Towers to construct the structure.
"This has proven to be a very difficult site to build on," Black said.