The Gage County Board of Supervisors may decide how to handle a failing communications tower in Blue Springs as early as next week.
The board discussed the tower Friday during its regular committee meeting, where they heard a proposal from Zephyr Towers, a Beatrice-based company, to remove the tower.
Conflicting reports have raised questions as to if the tower can be repaired, or if it needs to be replaced altogether.
Multiple tower companies have declined to climb the tower in the past due to safety concerns, a decision Mitchell Williamson of Zephyr Towers agreed with.
One factor in the decision is that the tower lacks a safety cable for a climber to attach to.
“It’s basically a cable that runs on the outside of the tower from the ground to the top of the tower and would allow a climber to click onto this with a harness and allow them to climb up and down the tower without the risk of falling,” he explained.
The tower serves departments in the general southern part of the county, south of Highway 136.
Demolition of the tower is estimated to cost under $40,000, though the price could change if the board elects to also remove the surrounding underground concrete.
The board has also contemplated repairing the tower after it was struck by lightning that damaged some equipment and now poses stability issues.
Zephyr’s report indicated that repairing the 50-year-old tower would cost more than it’s worth.
“The guy wires, which are the wires that hold it up, are not installed properly,” Williamson said. “They would be expensive to replace. The tower, as we’re told, is probably 40-50 years old and it does not meet any of the standards for safety or even paint today… In order to get this tower back to existing standards, make it safe and make it last another 50 years, you would easily spend more than the $120,000-$150,000 you would put into a brand new tower at today’s standards.”
Building a new tower is one option. The board also heard a proposal from the Clearview Tower Company to take down the tower and build a new one that the company would own and lease back to the county to put communication equipment on it.
How much longer the tower would last is unknown, though most reports have indicated that it needs to be removed.
“This is not an emergency situation where it needs to be done immediately because there is a risk of loss of life or property,” Williamson said. “But it needs to be taken down in the next year. It’s possible it could fall down in the next 10 years. There’s just as great of chance that the next ice storm, the next large winds, could end it this year. The tower is not in a safe condition. It’s not worth the risk or financial cost to repair this tower back to safe conditions.”