By Mary Alys Cherry
Highway 3 from Scarsdale Boulevard to NASA Parkway will close tonight, Monday, April 28, in order to move the Boeing 747 shuttle carrier airplane from Ellington Field to Space Center Houston.
The move will be in two parts over two nights. The first, from Ellington to NASA Parkway will take place April 28 from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. when the aircraft travels down Highway 3 to the intersection of NASA Parkway, moving about the speed of a person walking, three miles per hour.
On Tuesday, April 29, NASA Parkway will be shut down from Highway 3 to Saturn Lane as the 318,000-pound vehicle continues its journey to tag up with the Space Shuttle Independence at the visitor’s center.
During the move, workers from 30 public, private and government agencies will assist, helping dismantle traffic lights, signs and utility poles so the 1,000-foot-long convoy may pass. No utilities are expected to be disrupted. Commuters are encouraged to expect traffic delays and plan alternate routes.
Route maps showing barricades, closures and move times can be found at www.spacecenter.org/bigmove
“Even in a state as big as Texas, a move of this size is unprecedented,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “This massive exhibit will celebrate American ingenuity and create an international icon highlighting Houston’s leadership role as Space Center, USA.”
Once the aircraft is at its new home, its wings will be reattached and the shuttle will be repositioned atop it, as if taking off on a journey. The attraction will be more than eight stories tall and feature interactive educational exhibits inside the shuttle and jumbo jet offering visitors an experience unique in the world.