'Shuttle Delivery Team' stays busy before and after Endeavour passes
At about 10:30 a.m., most of the crowd had left and it was time for the heavy lifting to begin.
About 30 minutes after the space shuttle Endeavour rolled down Manchester Boulevard, a crew of seven electricians donning white hard hats and neon yellow vests took up positions at the intersection of Manchester and Kareem Court.
Their goal: reconnect the traffic signal to its pole and get it back into the ground. Having removed the fixture to make way for the shuttle, the workers' neon vests appropriately read "Shuttle Delivery Team."
One worker cleared pedestrians from the sidewalk, while three others bent down and collectively struggled to lift the rectangular signal off the ground.
The stoutest of the workers was impressed by the chunk of metal: "Dang, this is heavy."
His co-worker laughed, "You think?"
The trio rested the light -- whose red, yellow and green circles were each the size of the men's heads -- on their knees for a break. Then they heaved it up and waited as another coworker grabbed a wrench and bolted the light back to the pole.
Now it was time to put the whole fixture back into place.
A red hook was lowered from a crane and one of the workers attached it to a yellow rope wrapped around the fixture. Then the crane operator pulled a lever and the pole rose from the ground and was swung back to its original position.
A crowd that had gathered to watch the reinstallation clapped, but the workers weren't finished.
Gary Panter, one member of the crew, smirked and raised his eyebrows slightly as he pointed to a bunch of frayed, colorful wires jutting out of the median near the newly reinstalled pole.
"There's a lot of work underground," Panter said. "There's a lot of prep work."
As he watched his coworkers tinker with the new pole, a woman wearing an Endeavour T-shirt stopped, nodded at him and flashed him a thumbs up.
"Tremendous job," she said.
He smiled and thanked her. It was a nice end to a more than 20-hour shift.
-- Marisa Gerber
Photo: Workers erect a light post at Manchester Boulevard and Kareem Court. Credit: Marisa Gerber.