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Safety upgrades to telecoms tower planned

Aggressive programme: Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A project to fix telecoms towers throughout Bermuda was put into action after safety equipment used to access some sites fell into such disrepair it became risky to use.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, told the House of Assembly an “aggressive maintenance programme” was put in place to tackle problems with rust at the structures.

He explained on Friday that the Government owned and operated a portfolio of seven telecommunications tower sites across the island.

Colonel Burch explained: “Historically, the telecommunication tower facilities have been managed by the Bermuda Police Service as they were primarily installed to support their operational telecommunicational requirements.”

He said the ministry took over responsibility of the towers in April 2017 and commissioned structural surveys for each site.

MPs heard: “The structural surveys highlighted a lack of regular maintenance of the telecom towers, which has resulted in every tower displaying various stages of corrosion.

“The recommendation of the survey was the adoption of an aggressive maintenance programme with a focus on rust identification and remediation.

“In some instances, the safety equipment for climbing the towers is in such poor condition that it poses a risk to life for anyone who may climb the tower.

“Additional issues identified included improper air conditioning design and maintenance in equipment rooms, lack of a back-up generator at the quarry site and a lack of regular maintenance of the generators at the other sites.

“Some sites had substantial foliage overgrowth and maintenance was required to improve and maintain access and safety.”

He added: “As these sites and infrastructure are critical to operations and are of national importance, we’ve implemented a programme and continued to carry out remediation works during this budget year for the issues identified.”

Colonel Burch later said that $783,000 earmarked under capital acquisitions for communications equipment would go towards work to repair or replace towers.