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Two Radio Towers Proposed for Relay Ridge in the Big Holes

There is currently one radio tower site on Relay Ridge, and according to the US Forest Service, the increasing broadcast traffic from television and radio stations has the potential to interfere with emergency communications at this tower. Thus, Q102 and the Forest Service are now proposing two 50 x 50 radio tower sites be constructed about 1.5 miles north of the current Relay Ridge site in the Big Hole Mountains. To reach these new sites 800-900 feet of new road will need to be constructed.

An obvious concern to the commissioners was the potential visual impacts of the towers.  In addition, the commissioners thought it important to ensure that the towers are not lit up at night. VARD communicated to the Commissioners that in addition to these 2 new radio sites on Relay Ridge, a 70-foot cell tower was just approved in Felt, and two 200-foot cell towers were just approved in Lamont and Drummond over in Fremont County. What is the potential for redundancy in all of these towers, and can there be co-location of services on any of these towers?  

VARD emphasized the need for comprehensive tower planning in the upcoming 2011 Comprehensive Plan process. Many communities have adopted communication tower overlays that will map out all future sites for radio and cellular towers to maximize efficiency and avoid redundant towers. Given the amount of recent tower activity in our general region, our community is ripe for adopting its own communication overlay.


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