New FLL radar tower turns heads

Workers say drivers stop to ask what it is

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - Workers are building new radar tower at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport near Interstate 95 that is turning heads.

"The Doppler VOR is an electronic navigational aid that directs pilots either to the airport or from the airport," said Michael Nonnemacher of the Broward County Aviation Department.

Runway and taxiway expansion gobbled up the VOR's old space. It's been moved out of the way till the new 55 feet high, 100 feet wide platform can replace it, sometime early next year. 

"The strength of the building, the strength of the steel we are using, all the supports things of that nature, no vibration -- it's built to last. It's built to stay there, that's for sure," said Kevin Bush of Jones-Morgan General Contractors, the company building the tower.

Work on what looks like a giant erector set has been going on for about three months, most of it underground. 

"It's sitting on concrete pilings, 75 of them that are 35 feet deep, so it starts 35 feet below ground and then comes up another 55 feet above ground," said Bush.

It was when work started above ground, about three weeks ago, that the project started getting attention. 

Thousands of motorist pass by every day. Many following the progress and the extremely nosey started stopping at the construction site looking for answers. 

"They actually physically drive in on the property and they are curious and they want to know what it is," said Bush.

Construction workers decided to start pulling some legs. 

"Jokingly, we're telling them that it's a landing pad for visitors from Mars or whatever, but that's just a little inside joke that we use," laughed Bush.

The $6 million project is being paid for by airport user fees instead of tax dollars.

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