KING 5 plans to begin construction work to upgrade its Queen Anne tower to meet Next Generation Television standards on Monday, July 22.

The tower, which was erected in 1953, needs to be strengthened first, in order to support new antennas.

One antenna will be added in the interim, while an existing antenna is replaced, and then will remain as an alternate.

The City of Seattle is requiring that KING 5 provide additional tower leg anchoring and add or replace steel cross members. Foundation work was completed in March.

The Federal Communications Commission has set a Jan. 17 deadline for completion.

“We’re hoping to finish end of August, somewhere between then and mid-September,” said KING 5 president and general manager Jim Rose. 

Rose said this state-of-the-art signal has been tested by a number of groups in the Phoenix market, and many broadcasters are choosing to make the upgrade.

“You’re going to get essentially higher-quality video,” he said. “The audio should also be better, and a coverage pattern better than it already is.”

NextGen TV will coexist with KING 5’s current signal, and there is no firm date for deploying the new technology.

Rose said it will also allow KING 5 to provide localized emergency alerts, such as for earthquakes like the one the region experienced on July 12.

Tower Consultants, Inc. will perform work on the tower, located at 301 Galer St.

Environment and safety consultant Ramboll conducted testing at the site, and found paint on the tower structures there containing “lead at a concentration greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) standard for lead-based paint of 0.5%,” according to the project’s Lead Health Protection Plan.

The plan calls for Tower Consultants, Inc. and any subcontractors to have someone monitoring the project at all times to mitigate worker or environmental exposure to lead-based paint. Areas where lead has been found will be restricted to those who have undergone training, and “Lead-based paint dust and fragments will be contained in the work area and collected for all work activities,” according to the plan.

“Paint removed from the towers at the facility, and any materials containing or coated by paint to be disposed as waste, is designated as Dangerous Waste under the Washington Dangerous Waste Regulation (WAC Chapter 173-303) for lead characteristic toxicity,” the plan states. “As such, it must properly be handled, according to these guidelines.”

Letters detailing the project’s goals and challenges have been sent to residents living within a quarter-mile of the site.

“As of yet, we’ve not gotten any pushback from the community or feedback from the community at this point,” Rose said, “but if that does happen, we’re ready to have that conversation.”

Find out more at king5.com/QATower.