Case of the disappearing radio tower...solved - Tucson News Now

Case of the disappearing radio tower...solved

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A towering part of the landscape on the northeast side disappeared, but not for long.

Crews are replacing one of three communications towers on north Swan Road, between Skyline and River Road.

You might have noticed that just last week the middle radio tower went missing.

It has been torn down. 

Crews are erecting a new tower in its place as part of the Pima County-wide communications system called PCWIN, Pima County Wireless Integrated Network.

PCWIN will allow first responders from multiple agencies throughout Pima County to communicate with each other when they are on a multi-agency operation such as a cross-town chase or a massive fire.

Not being able to communicate has become a safety issue.

When the old tower came down, people who noticed were buzzing about it.

One Tucsonan was especially upset because the towers are part of her family history.

"I always look for the three towers. And I said to my husband, there's only two towers there. And, why? What are they doing, because I knew my father was part of the construction of those towers," Evie Mason tells us.

PCWIN Project Sponsor, Pima County Sheriff's Captain Paul Wilson explains, "The tower didn't meet the structural requirements for the new antenna load and mainly that's related more to wind loading than it is weight. And so we had a structural analysis conducted. They recommended replacing the tower."

Wilson says most people won't notice much difference between the new tower and the old ones that will still stand beside it.

Each is 340 feet tall. 

Wilson says the PCWIN system is just about ready to go.

He says member agencies are gearing up.

"From installing equipment in their vehicles to user and dispatcher training and so on. All of which needs to take place before the end of the calendar year so that we can begin to cut users over to the new system at the end of the calendar year," Wilson says.

Voters approved the bonds for PCWIN back in 2004.

More than 30 law enforcement and fire agencies throughout Pima County will be part of PCWIN.

We're told the Tohono O'odham nation may join. Marana and the Tucson airport have opted not to join.

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