Communication tower construction set to begin this week in Monongalia County

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After months of delays, the new communications tower under construction in Catherine’s Knob has an end date.

Monongalia County Emergency Management (MECCA 911), announced that the project is progressing and is scheduled to be completed by the end of August. The new tower, is expected to serve thousands in western Monongalia County and is a welcome sight for emergency management officials after delays caused over the course of over six months.

“We were able to obtain most of the tower, it is just the top three sections of the tower, the material to create those sections were delayed due to the pandemic,” said MECCA 911 Director Jim Smith about the progress of the construction.

When the project is completed, it will replace a multiple decades old tower that was formerly at the Catherine’s Knob location. The decision to go through with the replacement was recommended by MECCA 911 officials and was approved by Monongalia County Commission after both parties observed the need for several improvements on the tower site.

“Commissioner Sikora went out with us when the tower was brought down and saw the damage that we saw the damage to the tower before it was brought down, and the county commission has agreed to replace this tower,” said Smith regarding the approval made before the project’s construction.

The new communications tower, has suffered several delays as a result of circumstances beyond the control of MECCA 911 and local officials. The first delay, involved the building that comes with the construction of the new cell tower that houses necessary electrical equipment as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns. Further delays were seen in the delivery of the bars for the upper arms of the antennas, which were suffering COVID delays in Louisiana. Not with COVID-19 appearing to reach a plateau sooner than later, Smith says further delays should not be expected.

“The tower is being delivered this Thursday, and they will start construction of the tower this Friday,” he said.

Pending sudden changes, the new and improved communications tower in Catherine’s Knob, will be completed this summer and will not only improve the efficiency of emergency services but other services as well. U.S. Cellular, will also have improved services as a result of the tower’s construction after using a temporary service station during the delays. So for several parties, as well as Western Monongalia County residents, the timing for the completion of the tower could not be any better.

“We’ve invited them (U.S. Cellular) back on to the tower because that’s a very important safety aspect out in the Western End for those people to have cell coverage out there,” said Smith.