Editor's Note: The LACMA rock safely passed through the city of Cerritos overnight between March 5-6. Click here to read our live blog about the historic event and view photos taken by Patch and some of our readers.
Tonight, a 340-ton boulder that will eventually go on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will begin the slow, painstakingly calculated 11-night journey from a Riverside-area rock quarry to the museum on Wilshire Boulevard's Miracle Mile -- with plans to travel through Cerritos on the evening of March 5.
The 21 1/2-foot-tall granite megalith will meander under the dark of night on a so-called transporter that is about 200 feet long and three-freeway lanes wide at about 8 mph through four counties and 22 cities.
The rock's trip is scheduled to begin at the Stone Valley Materials quarry on Pyrite Street northwest of Rubidoux late Tuesday night and arrive at LACMA early the morning of March 10. The rock will only be moved during late night and early morning hours.
The most direct route -- west on the Pomona (60) and Santa Monica (10) freeways -- was not possible due to the rock's height and freeway bridges that cannot stand the strain, officials said.
Instead, 105-mile journey will detour on surface streets. Traffic signals will have to be disassembled, power lines will have to be cut, and ramps built across medians before the giant rock mover can pass. Then everything will have to be reassembled before morning commuters hit the streets.
Emmert International (EI) – the company hired by LACMA to transport the boulder – has selected a route that provides adequate clearances with minimal disruptions to the public along the way. To provide sufficient vertical clearance for the load and to protect against equipment damage, EI has employed Los Angeles Signal Construction (LASC) to oversee all necessary signal mast arm removal and replacement. LASC will temporarily remove and replace city owned signal mast arms at the following intersections: Carmenita Road at 166th Street, Beach Street, Artesia Boulevard and South Street; Del Amo Boulevard at Norwalk Boulevard, Pioneer Avenue and Mapes Avenue; and Studebaker Road at 195th Street.
The Chinese company Hanjin Shipping Co. is covering much of the cost of the trip. Private donors also helped fund the artwork. LACMA Communications Director Miranda Carroll declined to disclose its cost.
Plans to Pass Through Cerritos
Once in Cerritos, the carrier will travel south on Carmenita Road across the entire city, turn west on La Palma Avenue/Del Amo Boulevard, go north on Studebaker Road, and finally head west on South Street into Lakewood.
The transition through the city and all traffic signal restoration work will be completed on the night of March 5 between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Upon entering the City of Lakewood, the carrier is scheduled to park in the South Street center median just west of the San Gabriel Bridge, until the next night when it will continue on its journey, according to a city-issued statement.
Engineers from the Los Angeles County Engineering Division, which processes oversize loads permit for the city, have verified that the weight load falls within the safe limits for all bridges and roads within Cerritos and that the carrier has adequate room to safely complete all turns. The city has required the contractor to provide a $10 million liability insurance policy naming the city as additional insured.
The city's signal contractor, Team Econolite, will be present during the move to oversee the signal work and to ensure that service is restored. All costs incurred by the city will be reimbursed by LACMA.
The Rock’s Entire Journey
At the start of the journey, the rock will head west on Van Buren/Mission boulevards through Chino, and wind around in Hacienda Heights before veering south on Colima Road into Whittier. The route goes through La Mirada, Cerritos and briefly into Orange County before the megalith finally heads west across the San Gabriel River bridge at Del Amo Boulevard.
After heading north to South Street, the rock will cross west across Lakewood and then zig-zag south and west all the way to Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach.
The boulder will finally cross the Los Angeles River via Pacific Coast Highway, then head north via Western Avenue and Figueroa Street.
In all, it will be transported through Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles counties and 22 cities, according to Carroll. The precise map can be viewed at www.lacma.org/levitated-mass-map.
The rock will be part of the permanent exhibit "Levitated Mass,'' artist Michael Heizer's designed grand entrance to the LACMA complex. Visitors will pass under the huge boulder through a 456-foot slot carved under the rock on the museum's north side.
Museum officials hope to have the exhibit open by late spring or early summer.
Heizer first came up with the idea for the artwork in 1968, but did not discover an appropriate boulder until 2007, when the rock was quarried. The artist had worked with the quarry before for previous artworks.
"He definitely wanted something from that quarry, because it's California granite,'' Carroll said.
The exhibit will be permanent.
"It will probably be here way longer than any of us,'' Carroll said.
- City News Service and MarieSam Sanchez contributed to this report.
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