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Endeavour: LAPD warns of crowds, traffic jams during shuttle move

   

Ten days before space shuttle Endeavour begins its 12-mile trek through the streets of Los Angeles, authorities warned of "extremely large crowds" anticipated to descend upon the area, along with street and sidewalk closures they said could jam traffic.

The space shuttle has been housed in a United Airlines hangar at Los Angeles International Airport since Sept. 21, when it arrived in L.A. on the back of a modified Boeing 747. On Oct. 12, it will begin the two-day journey through Los Angeles and Inglewood to its permanent home at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

Moving the five-story-tall, 170,000-pound shuttle will be no easy feat, officials have warned. It marks the first time a shuttle will move through the heart of an urban center and is "one of the largest objects ever to be transported over city streets in Los Angeles history," according to a release Tuesday from the Los Angeles Police Department.

"It is anticipated that extremely large crowds will come from all over Southern California in an attempt to see the shuttle in its final miles through the streets of West and South Los Angeles," the release said. "Visiting public must be aware that much of the shuttle route will contain closed streets and sidewalks, and limited parking due to public safety reasons."

Sources said rolling street and sidewalk closures would be in place a mile ahead of the shuttle, which will zigzag down streets on the back of specialized transporters at a top speed of 2 mph.

The Friday, Oct. 12 closures include:

  • Lincoln Boulevard between Sepulveda Boulevard and Manchester Avenue
  • Westchester Parkway between Sepulveda and Airport boulevards
  • La Tijera Boulevard between Sepulveda and Manchester
  • Manchester between La Tijera and Crenshaw Drive

On Saturday, Oct. 13 closures include:

  • Manchester between the Inglewood Forum and Crenshaw Drive
  • Crenshaw Drive between Manchester and Crenshaw boulevards
  • Crenshaw Boulevard between Manchester and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards
  • MLK between Crenshaw Boulevard and Figueroa Avenue

Public viewing opportunities have been planned for Oct. 13 at the Forum in Inglewood and the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards, but the LAPD said more details would be released later.

Modifications were required along the route to ensure the shuttle could pass through, including the trimming and removal of some 400 trees and removal of traffic signs and street lights. The LAPD said the street lights would be temporarily removed in the coming days, although "there will not be any long stretches without lights." The lights will be replaced with new LED lighting after the shuttle is moved.

Once Endeavour arrives at the California Science Center, it will be housed in the Samuel Oschin display pavilion, a temporary exhibit that will open to the public Oct. 30.

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— Kate Mather and Andrew Blankstein

 
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