Traffic advisory station on its way

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The first antennae of the new Traffic Information/Emergency Radio Station (TIER), serving the Malibu, Las Virgenes and Topanga areas was raised Aug. 26, at a press conference at Duke’s restaurant.

Congressman Brad Sherman, Malibu Mayor Tom Hasse, Malibu/Las Virgenes Council of Governments President Betty DeSantis, California Department of Transportation officials and community activists took part in the event.

Funding for the radio station has come from a grant of $650,000 for the City of Malibu that was secured by Congressman Sherman in the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21).

The station will alert motorists and area residents to roadway conditions and/or emergency situations along the Pacific Coast Highway, Kanan Dume Road, Malibu Canyon and Las Virgenes Canyon Roads, and Topanga Canyon Highway. The radio station frequency will be accessible form Malibu through the Las Virgenes Valley and Topanga to the 101 Freeway. Listeners will also be able to tune into the radio station from Santa Monica and the 10 Freeway. Individuals outside the station’s service area will be able to listen to the radio station’s message by phone, (310.456.9982) which is already operational.

The TIER system will be constructed in two phases. Phase one will be constructed by Malibu and will cost $200,000 — $160,000 of which is federal money, and $40,000 to be paid by the City of Malibu.

The first phase will include the installation of four antennae sites, two outside city limits and two within city limits, one of which will be installed at Duke’s Restaurant and the other at the Point Dume Mobile Home Park. The outside sites on Piuma Road and on Kanan Dume Road are subject to approval with appropriate jurisdictions. Installation of four signs, alerting travelers to tune into the radio frequency, are also included in the first phase.

Although the radio frequency has not yet been approved by the Federal Communications Commission, it will be fully designated by the beginning of 2001, when the first phase will be fully operational.

The second phase will cost an estimated $200,000 to $400,000 and will be constructed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Phase two will provide service from Decker Canyon and PCH to the 405 and 10 Freeways. Phase two will also extend coverage from the canyons to the 101 Freeway and West San Fernando Valley. This phase will be completed by the summer of 2001.

Forrest Communications, based in Agoura, has been hired by the City of Malibu to begin construction of phase one. The company has already begun purchasing the station’s equipment and will begin actual installation of the equipment within the next several months.