THE switch on of a temporary mast set to restore television signal to thousands more people will be delayed for more than a week due to bad weather, it has been confirmed.

In an update provided this morning by site operators Arqiva, bosses say a 100-strong team using helicopters have been working around the clock on the temporary mast, which was set to be 80-metres tall, and the building of the mast has been complete.

Read more: Bilsdale transmitter: Arqiva boss responds to job losses and impact on fixing mast

However, high winds, low cloud and heavy rain in recent days have forced a delay to the proposed switch on date next week.

Site operators now aim to complete all work, carry out the required tests and checks, and switch on the temporary mast to restore services for thousands more people in the period of October 13 to October 19.

The final installation work, according to Arqiva, checks and tests require good visibility and line of sight from the ground.

Rain and winds above 20mph make it dangerous for workers to climb to heights and to lift equipment into place.

Reportedly, power lines and feeder cables to the antenna must be installed and equipment has to be kept dry as it is fitted together to ensure safety.

Read more: Bilsdale transmitter: Site operators to move into NORTH EAST offices to deal with ongoing crisis

Adrian Twyning, Arqiva’s chief of operations, said: “The team have been working tirelessly since we broke ground to meet the go-live date of 5th October. Unfortunately the one thing we cannot control is the weather and that has turned this week.

“I want to apologise to those people who were really hoping for their services to be restored after a long wait this week. We had worked hard for that too, and this is immensely frustrating.

“The wind, cloud and rain has a heavy impact on how we can work at height, and safety is our absolute priority.

“We will continue to work flat out to restore services to the people who deserve them, and we will provide a further update as soon as we can.”

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The temporary mast was set to restore service to more than 90 per cent of households across the region which has been affected by the fire at the main Bilsdale mast on August 10.


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