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LOCKPORT – The early onset of cold weather has dashed hopes that towers for Niagara County’s new emergency radio system can be ready by spring.

Before the ground froze, only three of the five towers’ concrete bases could be laid, said County Legislator David E. Godfrey, R-Wilson.

Construction of the Newfane tower at the voting machine storage building on Transit Road is 60 percent complete, said Godfrey, chairman of the Community Safety and Security Committee.

Bases were installed for towers at the City of Lockport composting plant and at the Terry’s Corners Fire Company in Royalton.

But the cold weather hit before work could begin at North Tonawanda Fire Department headquarters and at Upper Mountain Fire Company in Lewiston.

“The concrete did not get in the ground before it froze, so we’ll have to wait until spring,” Godfrey said.

Godfrey had pushed for winter construction of the towers so testing of the $10 million system could begin in the spring, followed by activation in the summer. That won’t happen now.

“The system will come online in the fall,” County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz said.

Testing is expected to begin in June, Glatz said.

Fire Coordinator Jonathan F. Schultz said plenty can be done during the winter months.

“The sheds are being put in place at Lockport, Newfane and Terry’s Corners,” Schultz said, referring to the small buildings that will hold the equipment for each antenna.

Improvements to an existing antenna atop Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center are on tap.

“There will be inside work at the medical center,” Schultz said. “There will be inside work at the dispatch center (near the County Jail in Lockport).”

Godfrey said that the prefabricated parts for the Lockport tower were to have been delivered last week and that parts for the Terry’s Corners tower are scheduled to be delivered Jan. 6.

The emergency generator the county promised to install at Terry’s Corners is in place, the committee chairman added.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com