Reading, Massachusetts is preparing to replace its water tank, which also doubles as the town’s centrally located cell site. After months of discussion, a solution to maintaining connectivity during construction has been reached, reports the Daily Times Chronicle. In a 5-0 vote, the Reading Selectmen have chosen to approve a temporary cell tower.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said board member Carlo Bacci.
The new tower will be a ballast tower standing 140-feet tall. AT&T and T-Mobile submitted a proposal to Reading saying they would build the tower and the town’s emergency communications equipment. The temporary tower will sit close to the water tower site. With the carriers footing the bill, Reading will not have to come up with the $250,000 to $500,000 needed to construct the temporary tower.
An RFP will soon be issued for the construction of the ballast tower, said Town Manager Bob LeLacheur. The design calls for a pit filled with crushed stone that can be assembled and disassembled quickly and with no long term impact on the site. AT&T is a likely bidder for the project.
When questioned about the possible danger of a falling pole, Ed Pare, attorney and AT&T spokesperson said, “I have not seen any circumstance where a maintained pole has fallen from the base so that you have a full 140-foot laydown. They’re designed to code. We will over-design this as we do with towers that we place next to buildings, on buildings, next to schools, on interstate highways.” He added, “I’d like to express our appreciation on behalf of AT&T to the entire board for hearing us out, being concerned about maintaining coverage.”
The matter of the temporary cell tower covered, Reading can now move on to the controversial issue of what color to paint the new water tank, according to the Daily Times Chronicle.