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Power outages expected during shuttle Endeavour journey across LA

October 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a matter of days, the space shuttle Endeavour will begin its slow and final journey to its new home at the California Science Center. With utility poles and traffic signals in its path, getting there isn't going to be easy.

The shuttle will leave Los Angeles International Airport and travel east on Manchester Boulevard, through Inglewood, then head north on Crenshaw and east on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

But Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power say not to worry, they have a plan.

When the space shuttle Endeavour soared into view last month on its way into L.A., millions looked up to watch. It was a flyover that electrified the Southland. But when Endeavour hits the road, it's promising to "de-electrify" parts of the area.

"We are going to be having various outages," said Ed Antillon, Southern California Edison. "We've reduced this down to less than 400 customers and the outages will range between four hours and something less than that."

Southern California Edison supplies power to Inglewood. When the shuttle rolls down Manchester Boulevard, Antillon says, a handful of power lines will have to be de-energized and taken down. Larger, 220,000-volt transmission lines will have to be lifted up.

"We will actually have cranes standing by and as the shuttle comes by, what we'll be doing is de-energizing the line, testing and grounding, and then lifting the conductors to an estimated height of about 70 feet," said Antillon.

The shuttle's move, as historic as it will be, is causing some heartache for many of the people who live along the route. Hundreds of trees had to be removed to make room for Endeavour's 78-foot-wide wingspan.

City officials say the vast majority of the 12-mile route will be closed to the public for safety reasons.

But some people in parts of Inglewood that will lose power are more excited about seeing the shuttle than put off by the lack of electricity.

"We're all going to be too excited so we're probably won't be in the house that much to use the power anyway," said Kalyn Brown, who lives along the shuttle route.

Officials for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power say they don't expect any outages along the Los Angeles part of the route.

SoCal Edison says the Inglewood power outages will be relatively brief, lasting no more than four hours and possibly shorter if all goes as planned with the shuttle move.

Inglewood resident Gwendolyn Lee says that's a small price to pay for front row seats to history.

"It's part of us, and it's exciting that it's here where we can see it," said Lee. "Maybe our children will really get interested in the space program."


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