Saturday, March 31, 2012

3/30/12 - Generator Work Complete - Prime Contractor Complete

Most men, it seems to me, do not care for Nature and would sell their share in all her beauty, as long as they may live, for a stated sum — many for a glass of rum. Thank God, men cannot as yet fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth! 
Henry David Thoreau - Journal, 3 January 1861

Thirteen days since my last visit when the workers appeared to be wrapping up the work on the ramps and the railings.  In Florida for six days of that respite, I could but imagine what was happening on the summit.  And, I might add, I was fairly well on point!  

The power systems would likely be installed on the western edge of the summit and the railings would be complete.  Would they begin dismantling the old tower?  Would they remove the perimeter fence?  I could only wonder as I visited my father in Florida.  

But now, I'm back!  Little, I found, transpired in the past week.  But then again, this project is almost complete; there isn't much more to do than to transfer the communication components from the old tower, remove or dismantle the old tower, do a bit of landscaping, remove the site perimeter fence, and call it complete.  

The gate was locked tight while a construction company vehicle sat in the still cold air.  Had the gate not been locked, I might have surmised that someone was working inside the bunker, but not so.  Let's take a look around.

First, the old NE Corner - someone has removed Old Glory - not even a trace, a thread, a broken flag staff, nothing.

NE Corner
Eastern Wall and Ramp
NE Corner Complete with Grating and Railings
NW Corner
Grading and Railings Complete
NW Corner - Detail
I always wondered about how this giant erector set came together, and how the superintendent knew where each piece was to be placed.  The key is in how the steel was marked at the fabrication site.  Notice in the above photo, the writing and in particular, the numbers.  You can see the sequence proceed in the next picture as well.  

Since this structure will not be painted, in time, the writing will surely disappear.

Western Wall
SE Corner
The Ramp Begins - Detail
Skiing??  Not For Months To Come
 So, that is about it for the tour about the usual sights.  But ... as always, there is more; clues abound.

The road which winds around the summit just as you pass the pond, is where they blue tarp was found on the 17th covering some type of cement foundation.  Well, the project is now before us ... the generator station for the tower.  Excellent design as it is off the western side of the summit and out of sight - a big improvement over the old tower and generator which is protected by fence with barbed wire on top - see below.

New Generator Site
Old Power Generator and New Generator
The New
Viewed from Western Edge of Summit
By contrast, here is the original power station.

Old ID Tag
Old Fence, Barbed Wire, and Bunker
We continue about the sight and yet another discovery is made!  Construction Dynamics Inc., the prime contractor, has left the mountain!  Well, at least their construction shed!  It is no more!  What remains is a waste container, toilet facility, a bulldozer, and the large lift vehicle.

In many places about the site, you can see that the fence is not quite as strong and robust as it was in the beginning, 10 months ago.  It is tied together with string and wire where it has fallen or been loosened by the winds.

Construction Shed Footprint

Certainly, things appear to be winding down.  A beautiful Saturday, although on the cool side, yet there is no work being done.  The contractors must see the end in sight.

Two Shall Become One
Normally I don't get to visit on a weekday, so I decided to stop at the Visitor's Center on the way home and see if there might be someone on site to lend some information on "what's next?"

I entered the center and could hear voices in the "employees only" room in the back.  I rang the bell for assistance and was warmly greeted by Ms. Denise Morrissey, Supervisor of the Wachusett Reservation.  She was most open to answering my questions.  Indeed, after delays in the steel, a warm winter has finally enabled the end to be in sight.  She hopes that the Summit Road will be opened by Memorial Day.  Moving the antenna's, the vertical ladder for access to the cab, some minor landscaping, activation of communication lines, disposal of the old tower, and removal of the site perimeter fence are still on the "to do" list.  Summer is looking up on Wachusett.

Stay tuned.

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