Northwestern Bell tower taken down
New cell tower has been up and running for a month
GRAFTON – Back in April Grafton’s skyline underwent change when a new, 125-foot cell tower was erected in downtown Grafton next to the former Northwestern Bell building and its existing tower which reached 183 feet into the prairie sky.
Grafton’s skyline was changed again last week when the old tower first built in the early 1960’s was taken down.
A crew from Zero Gravity Tower Service of Yankton, S.D., the same company that erected the new tower, came to survey the scene last Wednesday in preparation for the dismantling of the old tower.
Andrew Moe, owns the former Northwestern Bell building and the property both towers were located on.
He said because a majority of the old tower was painted with lead-based paint, a protective tarp was spread around the site to prevent any possible contamination.
Moe said the crew was surprised at how sturdy and well constructed the old tower was.
“The tower that came down was extremely well built,” Moe said. “They said it was put together a lot better than they thought it was.”
Moe estimates that the total weight of the old tower was approximately 24,000 pounds or 12 tons. The steel from the old tower was hauled away by Russ’s Auto and Scrap of Grafton. Moe said he kept one large pole that weighed approximately 2,000 pounds.
All of the sections of the tower had to unbolted manually. Cutting torches couldn’t be used because of the lead-based paint. Moe said a representative from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was on had to supervise the deconstruction of the tower.
Moe said that due to OSHA regulations the crew had to climb unassisted to do the work and couldn’t be hoisted by the huge crane that was brought in last Thursday.
Once large sections of the tower were lowered to the ground on the protective tarp and further dismantled they were put into dumpsters to be hauled away. He said they took 30-foot sections of the tower off at a time.
Moe said everything went off without a hitch and the work was completed Saturday afternoon.
The new tower, which is owned by Verizon has been on line and in use for about a month.
Surprisingly, Moe said the Zero Gravity crew told him this was a short tower, compared to many of the towers they work on that are 1,000 feet high and taller.