Local Company Wires Wallenda's Walk
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"They called us and the conversation went something like... please don't hang up. My name is Nik Wallenda and I'd like a cable stretched across the Niagara Falls Gorge," laughed Eric Jensen, a mechanic at O'Connell Electric.
The company, headquarted in Victor, used to building, servicing and maintaining electrical projects around the country, didn't hang up the phone. Its workers are providing and stringing up the steel wire rope that Nik Wallenda will walk on across Niagara Falls.
Jensen explained a roll of 2,300 feet of rope will be anchored, stretched and tightened from one side to the other. Wallenda's walk from anchor to anchor will be 1,800 feet across.
O'Connell has had six to 10 men working on this project since August. Their work and the materials for the event will cost more than $200,000. And while these men say they're used to doing all kinds of rigging and installing, general foreman Randy Fletcher said nothing has been quite like this project.
"I had a lot of apprehension right up until we went to visit the site where we could actually see what and where we were going to go. Then the apprehension went away and... this is possible. This can be done."
Fletcher said it took a lot of research and work from engineers and mechanics to come up with the right plan. He says that's now in place. Next week, they'll drive everything to the site. They'll use a helicopter to fly a rope across the gorge that will then pull the wire over. A tensioner machine will be used to tighten everything in place.
Then the rest of the work will be up to Nik Wallenda himself.
"I hope it's a great day," said Fletcher. "[I hope] the sky is clear, the mist is low so we can see the whole thing. And when it's over with, everyone gets to see a part of history."