A new radio tower will go up in Stony Creek this year and a new radio transmitter will be added on a tower off Route 149 in Queensbury as Warren County officials continue to work to improve the county’s emergency radio system.
The new 60-foot-tall tower in Stony Creek will be put up behind Town Hall on Hadley Road at a cost of about $250,000, which will be paid for through state grant funding, said Warren County Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree. A Warren County emergency services transmitter will be the only equipment on it, as cell phone providers determined there were not enough customers in range of the tower for their equipment to be added.
An additional radio transmitter will be put in place this year on a cellphone tower put up by Verizon Wireless off Route 149, near Oxbow Hill, to improve radio communication for police, fire departments and rescue squads in the region.
“The new towers will help fill in these dark areas,” Lamouree said.
Warren County leaders have been working for years to try to solve a problem with dead zones in the emergency radio network, which is caused at least in part by topography that includes mountains and valleys.
A new tower came on line last year in Warrensburg and one was added in Hadley as well. The Sheriff’s Office has added radio “repeaters” in patrol cars that boost signals for patrol officers to get better radio reception in the field.
The repeaters boost the strength of the signal from portable radios about tenfold. In the past, sheriff’s officers had struggled with an inability to make or receive calls on their radios.
“The repeaters in the cars have helped. It’s a much more powerful signal,” Lamouree said.
Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties learned this week that the state had awarded more than $2.5 million to them for use in upgrading their emergency communications equipment.
Warren County will receive more than $700,000, and Lamouree said county officials are working to determine on which projects to apply it.
Washington County will receive just over $1 million this year. Public Safety Director Glen Gosnell said more than $800,000 of it will likely be used for upgrading and replacing emergency radio base stations on the towers and moving forward with the overall upgrade of the communications system to a simulcast system.
He said $167,728 of the money will go directly to operation of the dispatching center.
“One area we are looking at is to replace our Emergency Medical Dispatch software, with one that does fire and law enforcement in addition to EMS calls,” Gosnell said.