Construction kicks off Monday on a project to create cell phone service through Glenwood Canyon. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.
Right now, drivers on Interstate 70 through the Canyon can’t use their phones and there’s limited emergency communication.
That will change once four towers are erected at rest areas along the 13 mile stretch. Marti Whitmore is an attorney for Canyon Summits, the group behind the project. She says cell service at busy tourist spots like Hanging Lake will help in emergencies.
"Right now, there’s no cell phone service, so if somebody’s injured, if somebody has a heart attack on the trail, there’s no way to communicate that," she says.
Currently, officials at the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office say they often receive text messages if there’s an emergency at Hanging Lake.
The cell towers will be disguised as trees to minimize impacts to the scenic canyon. Small shelters will also be part of the infrastructure. Whitmore says they’ve worked to blend the project into the environment.
"It’s taken a long time to do it and do it correctly, we’re very conscience of the environmental stewardship of Glenwood Canyon."
She’s says they’ve worked closely with agencies that maintain the wild look of the Canyon like the Forest Service, CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration .
Cell service through the Canyon won’t be available until all four towers are up. It’s not clear when that’ll be.