Red flashing lights on new Central Maine Power transmission towers in Woolwich and Bath are seen from Brown’s Point Road in Bowdoinham. Neighbors hope the disruptive flashing can be mitigated by radar that will turn the lights on only when a plane is flying in the area, but inclement weather has delayed CMP from testing the radar for the final time and turning it on. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

WOOLWICH — Central Maine Power delayed turning on the radar system on the Chops Point transmission towers, designed to keep the lights on the towers off except when an aircraft is nearby, because weather due to bad weather affecting the final testing procedure.

Tuesday, Jenna Muzzy, CMP marketing program manager, wrote the company uses a small aircraft to ensure the lights on the two towers turn on when the aircraft flies within about 21,000 feet of a tower, but poor visibility made the test unsafe.

“If there is a break in the weather that will give us the uninterrupted time we need, we’re prepared to take advantage of it,” Muzzy worte.

This final test requires a pilot to be in the air for about a half-day to ensure that the radar can detect the airplane in all parts of the designated space that would trigger the lights, according to CMP Spokeswoman Catherine Hartnett.

CMP started work on the radar system after residents in the area complained about the lights on the towers always being on.

Jenny Burch and Curt Fish of Woolwich, who both can see the towers from their homes, told The Times Record this summer the lights make it difficult for them to sleep.

The tower lights, which flash white during the day and turn red at night, were installed near the mouth of the Kennebec River last summer. One transmission tower sits in Bath and the other on Chop Point School property, carrying lines across Chops Point in Woolwich. The point forms a peninsula in Merrymeeting Bay between Woolwich and Bowdoinham. The lights can be seen from Merrymeeting Bay, as far away as Pleasant Point in Topsham and Brown’s Point Road in Bowdoinham.

The towers replaced two 80-year-old transmission towers that were 195 feet tall and were permitted when the Federal Aviation Administration didn’t require lights to warn passing aircraft, according to Hartnett.

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