CONWAY — Better radio coverage for the town's emergency services took a big step forward last week when a new 120-foot radio tower was erected next to the Conway Police Department headquarters on East Conway Road.
The tower will become operational next year.
Emergency responder such as police and firefighters have been struggling with dead spots in radio reception. To fix that problem, the police needed to update the dispatch center's consoles and build new towers.
Conway Police Chief Ed Wagner said work to put up the new lattice-style tower began last Wednesday, Oct. 23, and wrapped up Friday, Oct. 25.
Wagner said by email Friday that the police department was "extremely excited" while adding that the tower "won't be up and running for some time.
"Work still needs to be completed on Oak Hill, which is part of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office radio upgrade," Wagner said,
Oak Hill is in Madison, and Wagner said he had heard there were issues with the Madison project.
He said he expects the Conway tower to be operational in the first quarter of 2020.
New Hampshire Homeland Security last year had granted police $375,000, and in April, voters approved a $50,000 appropriation. This covers the entire cost of the tower and console.
Former Conway Police Lt. George Walker and Conway Fire Chief Steve Solomon applied for the grant.
Wagner said work in Conway is on time and on budget. The console system is being built at Ossipee Mountain Electronics.
Selectmen decided in June where the tower would be located. Town Engineer Paul DegliAngeli told selectmen they had a choice between putting the tower between the police station and East Conway Road or in a wooded area that would be less visible adjacent to courthouse.
DegliAngeli told selectmen in June that "it would be better to stick it in the front."