The dead zone for cell phone service between Clayton and Archer Lodge could soon come to life.
Crown Castle, a Charlotte-based cell tower company, wants to build a tower off of Covered Bridge Road, north of the Neuse River, almost exactly between the two towns.
The Clayton Planning Board endorsed the plan at its May meeting, sending the project on to the town council, which will review it later this month.
The proposed tower would stand 155 feet high with a nine-foot-tall lightning rod and have room for six wireless carriers, starting with Verizon.
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Clayton hired a wireless consultant, City Scape, to review Crown Castle’s application and found that cell coverage was indeed lacking in the area.
“This will fill a void in an area lacking for service,” Susan Rabold of City Scape said.
The closest towers to that part of Covered Bridge Road are in Wendell, along N.C. 42 and northeast of Archer Lodge. City Scape said in its report that towers can only accommodate 150 to 200 calls at a time, which is bogging down many areas of Johnston and Wake counties.
The consultant said space for six carriers should be sufficient, since only five providers offer service in the area: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Sprint.
Crown Castle initially wanted only a 100-foot tower, but that would not have been a sufficient improvement for the area, Rabold said.
The company would inspect the tower monthly, but it would be unlit, as the Federal Aviation Administration only requires structures taller than 200 feet to have lights, Crown Castle representative Tony Stewart said.
“All of us have cell phones; it’s a reality,” said planning board chairman Frank Price. “I get frustrated if I don’t have access to service.”
Jason Mayo of Crown Castle said pending town council approval, construction could begin in August, with the tower up and running in September or October.
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson