SUSANK — The Barton County 911 radio tower near Susank is an integral part of the county’s emergency communications network, but the last time the structural integrity of the tower was checked was about 20 years ago.
For that reason, the County Commission Monday morning approved contracting with Allstate Towers, Hendeson, Ky., to do a full structural analysis of the radio tower. The cost of the work will be $4,250.
“In light of the Doonan’s tower coming down a few years ago, we thought it would be a good idea,” Communications Director Dena Popp said. In July 2013, an agricultural crop spraying rig clipped one of the guy wires holding up the radio transmitting tower north of Doonan GMC Peterbilt east of Great Bend.
The collision toppled the tower. It forced radio traffic to be rerouted and caused temporary lapses in coverage.
Sitting a quarter of a mile east of Susank on NE 190 Road, the tower stands 300 feet in the air and was last inspected in 1995. If it falls, Popp said it would likely fall across the blacktop and would leave Beaver and Galatia without fire paging services.
In January, the commission ratified the purchase of a replacement generator for the tower after mice had chewed the wires of the old one, rendering it nearly inoperable. At the time, it was noted the tower was a vital link in the communications system between dispatch and emergency services.
The county owns two radio towers, the one at Susank and the one near Doonan’s. It also has also leased space on private towers.