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      Construction continues on communications tower

      The new tower should be finished with construction in mid-July.

      Construction is ongoing on Ottumwa's new communications tower.

      The schedule was set back a bit due to uncooperative weather, but the forecast looks promising next week, and if all goes to plan, a crane to stack the tower will be able to come in and begin the heavy lifting.

      A shelter to house a backup battery and equipment will also be installed, along with an access road from the main street to the tower.

      "Once we get everything put up, we'll go through a testing process between here and dispatch," said Josh Stevens, Coordinator of Wapello County Emergency Management. "The two are linked together with a microwave link, so we'll have our vendor down and they'll be doing a bunch of testing before we actually switch equipment from what's working now to the new stuff, so we don't have any issues, try to minimize those. It's a pretty big project, there's about 18 different things that's going to be located on the tower, so there's a substantial amount of time in there where we'll review."

      The tower is designed so that if it were to fall, it wouldn't touch down outside a 100-foot span and would not damage any surrounding homes.

      If the schedule goes as planned, the tower will be finished between July 12 and July 15 and a generator will be put in the following week.