What would you think if you saw a huge aircraft crawling through your neighborhood as in a dream, or perhaps a nightmare?
No matter. Thousands of Southern Californians are due to find out, Friday and Saturday (Oct. 12-13), as the Space Shuttle Endeavour is trundled on its last mission, this time to the California Science Center at Exposition Park.
It’s final home will be in the Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Pavilion and will viewing will open to the public on Oct. 30.
The shuttle’s trek will take it from Los Angeles International Airport through portions of Westchester, Los Angeles and Inglewood, one of the largest objects ever to be transported overland in these cities’ history. Undoubtedly, many thousands of viewers will be drawn to the slow-moving spectacle.
The California Science Center Foundation and various state and city departments have worked with numerous governmental and private partners to plan the shuttle’s relocation. Due its size and weight, careful consideration has gone into the planning. Southern California Edison (SCE) reports that it had been notified of the Science Center’s plans as early as January 2011, and SCE employees have been working since June 2011 in preparation for the shuttle’s 12-mile trek.
Among the plans were strategies to identify the least intrusive route in effort to minimize traffic delays and harm to businesses. Due to the size of the shuttle, there will be numerous street and sidewalk closures, said the Science Center, which asks that “residential and business communities remain patient, as the shuttle moves through their areas.”
The Science Center worked with the cities of Los Angeles and Inglewood to facilitate the temporary removal and re-installation of power lines, traffic signals and street lights. For example, along a 4-mile stretch where an estimated 400 SCE customers will be impacted, the utility sent out mailers to notify them of the planned electrical service outages.
However, SCE said “service interruptions will be incremental, with customer outages estimated in blocks of four hours or less” and the “interruptions will be staggered so not all customers will be impacted at the same time. It will all depend on the progress of the shuttle.”
“In evaluating the route, priority was always given to preserving trees when possible,” the Science Center said. “For every tree that will be removed, four trees of higher quality will be planted with additional improvements to beautify these areas. Two years of tree maintenance will also be provided by the California Science Center Foundation.”
Additionally, prior to the shuttle’s movement on surface streets, the city of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting will start removing identified street lights along the path. There will not be any long stretches without lights. Although some street lights will be temporarily removed along the route, sufficient lighting will remain as the shuttle zigzags through streets. Street lighting will be reinstalled with new brighter LED lighting, starting Friday, Oct. 12 through Wednesday, Oct. 17.
The Science Center warns that the public must be aware that much of the shuttle route will contain closed streets and sidewalks, and limited parking due to public safety reasons. The Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Fire Department cautions that these closures will likely result in significant traffic congestion and long delays in and out of the area.
Streets impacted by the Endeavour transport
- On Friday, Oct. 12:
- * Lincoln Boulevard between Sepulveda Boulevard and Manchester Avenue
- * Westchester Parkway between Sepulveda Boulevard and Airport Boulevard
- * La Tijera between Sepulveda Boulevard Manchester Avenue
- * Manchester Avenue between La Tijera Boulevard and Crenshaw Drive (City of Inglewood)
- On Saturday Oct. 13:
- * Manchester Boulevard between (Inglewood Forum) and Crenshaw Drive
- * Crenshaw Drive between Manchester Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard
- * Crenshaw Boulevard between Manchester Boulevard and Martin Luther King Boulevard
- * Martin Luther King Boulevard Between Crenshaw Boulevard Figueroa Avenue
Although the space shuttle exhibition is free of charge, it is recommended that the general public reserve a timed ticket online at www.californiasciencecenter.org for $3, or $2 for Science Center members.