LA prepares for space shuttle 'commute'

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11 (UPI) --
The final 12-mile journey of the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in a Los Angeles museum will be a logistical challenge, officials say.

The space shuttle's trip from Los Angeles International Airport to the city's Exposition Park over the next few days will be conducted at 2 mph, but the massive size and weight of the shuttle has had to be taken into account, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Massive steel plates have been put down to protect streets and utilities, streetlights have been removed, and at several points along the route Endeavour will be just inches away from buildings, workers said.

This week nearly 2,700 large metal plates, each weighing as much as a small car, were laid in strategic areas.

"The sheer number of the plates was surprising," construction consultant Michael Volchok said. "We've tapped out everything in Southern California."

More than 200 streetlights have been removed along with nearly 60 traffic signals in preparation for the move set to begin Thursday just before midnight.

The shuttle will have to pivot at a number of points along its route, and police said they would close sidewalks to the public at some locations, the Times said.

"Don't think of the shuttle going nose-first down every street," Lt. Andy Neiman said. "That shuttle has the ability to zigzag and maneuver, and that's what you're going to see along that route. There may be places where the shuttle is going sideways at an angle."


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