The state is trying to improve the communication service ahead of the World Games | Wbactive

Cellular project on wheels
An example of a cell tower on wheels. Photo from the Adirondack Park Agency application

APA checks temporary cell towers, power poles, mine demolition

By Gwendolyn Craig

The state expects an influx of athletes and spectators from around the world for the 2023 World University Games over the next few months and is looking to increase its cellphone coverage in the Adirondacks this winter.

The State Department of Transportation, Crown Communications and Verizon Wireless are seeking approval from the Adirondack Park Agency to install a temporary 60-foot wheeled cell tower (called the COW) on Route 9 in North Hudson. It would be housed in a DOT maintenance yard from December 1 to February 7, 2023 if the agency gives permission.

Verizon Wireless has no service in that region and claims travelers and emergency service providers would benefit from a COW, according to the APA filing. The World University Games is an 11-day winter sports competition starting on January 12th. Events are held in Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, North Creek and other Adirondack communities. According to the Regional Office for Sustainable Tourism, more than 2,500 athletes from 50 nations are expected.

The project is under review by the APA as a new land use or development within the park. A spokesman for the agency said the project is still under review.

NYSEG project

New York State Electric & Gas is seeking APA approval for an overhaul of its power towers and transmission lines from its Raquette Lake substation to its Blue Mountain Lake substation.

The major project application involves replacing or removing poles along 13 miles of mostly state Route 28 in the cities of Long Lake, Arietta and Indian Lake. The line currently has 318 poles in various degrees of decay, according to NYSEG. The project would install 249 new pylons and reduce the total number of pylons by 51. Some would be wood, some would be laminated wood, and some would be steel.

The proposal is designed to “deliver reliable power and maintain safe operating standards,” according to the NYSEG filing.

NYSEG says it would have to remove some trees and saplings on state lands, though it wasn’t clear exactly how many came from the application. The project area traverses the Moose River Plains Wild Forest, the Blue Ridge Wilderness and the Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, maps in application show. NYSEG has delineated 91 wetlands on the project site and some stakes may need to be placed in waterways and wetlands. NYSEG has multiple tree clearing permits with multiple landowners along the line, all signed in 1954. The permits permit trimming, cutting and removal of trees and brushwood within 25 feet of the power line.

NYSEG hopes to start construction in March and finish by October 30, 2024. A spokesman for APA said the project is currently under review.

Moriah mine

Former Republic Steel Mineville No. 7 Complex could be demolished.

Solvay USA, a Belgium-based manufacturing company, owns the historic Moriah site near Switchback Road. It has plans to “demolish several obsolete structures on the site, including buildings, silos and conveyor belts,” according to an APA filing. Hazardous materials are disposed of off-site, and clean wood and tree trimmings are left on site. Solvay’s application provides for approximately 4,431 cubic meters of concrete and masonry and 855 cubic meters of construction and demolition waste to be disposed of.

The State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is considering Solvay’s proposal because the site is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Solvay plans to document and photograph the site prior to demolition. A spokesman for the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments said: “We are awaiting the completion of Solvay’s proposal to document the structures before their demolition. This documentation would serve as a mitigation for the negative impact.”

The state Department of Environment is also reviewing the project for materials management and its potential impact on endangered species. The project site is within five miles of a northern long-eared bat and an Indiana bat hibernaculum, so the DEC asked Solvay to limit tree felling to between Nov. 1 and March 31, records show. The DEC declined to disclose whether the Hibernaculum was located at the Barton Hill Mine in Moriah, where a developer wanted to build a hydroelectric power plant. “DEC is not providing additional location information to ensure the protection of endangered/threatened species,” a spokesman wrote.

Solvay has no future development plans on the property. It’s not clear when the work could be completed and a spokesman for APA said the project is under review.

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