CHARLESTON, W.Va. – One new cell phone tower is up on the West Virginia Turnpike with seven more to go in hopes of improving spotty service on the toll road through southern West Virginia.
Turnpike General Manager Greg Barr said the first tower, located at the Chelyan Toll Plaza, is 195-feet high. He said it didn’t take long to construct after Verizon got the final approval from the federal Highway Administration.
Barr said he’s hopeful the approval of the other seven sites comes at a quicker pace.
“Three of the locations have already been approved by federal highways and four other requests have been made,” he said.
The towers are going in between Chelyan and Mossy and because of the terrain they have to be line-of-site, that’s why there are so many.
Verizon is leasing the property but Barr says the funds won’t go to the Turnpike.
“All that money goes to the (state) Real Estate Division and it’s earmarked for the state Highway (Road) Fund. The Division of Highways gets all the rental income for the towers,” he said.
Barr said Verizon and AT&T have already discussed an agreement to allow AT&T to rent space on the towers.
“The good thing is they share their towers. So it’s not just one cell company that’s going to benefit,” he said.