Controlled demolition to remove VOA towers

Vail Stewart Rumley | Washington Daily News

Demolition of the radio towers at the Voice of America transmitter station on Cherry Run Road in Washington started this week, according to Beaufort County Emergency Management.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has enlisted the services of an international company Controlled Demolition to take down towers and structures at the site, according to Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood.

Monday, Beaufort County Emergency Management sent out a press release alerting the public to the demolition.

“Part of this removal will involve the use of controlled explosives,” reads a press release from Lisa Williams, emergency management technician. “This process may cause residents in the surrounding area to hear unusually loud noises for brief periods of time.”

Fire Marshal and acting Emergency Management Director Curtis Avery said 120 units will be taken down from March 28 to April, but there is no set schedule as to when explosives will be used, as some of those structures will be taken down without the use of explosives.

Avery said the main gate will be locked throughout the week for safety reasons.

The VOA property, Site A, is one of three sites — the other two located in Pitt County — opened in 1963, broadcasting American viewpoints to countries behind the Iron Curtain. With its sister Site B in Greenville, it was once one of the most powerful international radio broadcasters in the world.

Closed in 2006, and the federal General Services Administration surplussed the 2,800-acre site to Beaufort County in late 2014. Initially, there were plans to create a public park in partnership with Wildlife Resources and Beaufort County Police Activities League, but county commissioners came to the conclusion that it would require too much of investment last year. The county, in turn, signed the property over to Wildlife Resources.

According to officials, upkeep required maintaining lighting on the site’s existing series of curtain array antennas, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration, or take the towers down.

The demolition and removal has been reviewed and permitted by Beaufort County, according to the press release.

The Beaufort County Police Activities League (BCPAL) is now the Inner Banks STEM Center.