NECA/IBEW Team Strings The Wire For Wallenda's Historic Walk Across Niagara Falls
BETHESDA, Md., June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As Nik Wallenda prepares for his historic tightrope walk across Niagara Falls on June 15, 2012, union craftsmen working with O'Connell Electric are preparing the critical job of stringing the wire that will carry the daredevil across the raging waters of the tenth largest waterfall in the world.
The Rochester, NY-based O'Connell Electric was selected for the job based on its extensive experience stringing high tension wires, sometimes stretching for more than a mile. Founded in 1911, the company, a member of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), is one of the nation's top-ranking contractors, covering every major industry segment. The craftsmen tasked with the wirework were drawn from Local 1249 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
At 1,800 feet in length, Wallenda's cable across the falls weighs nearly seven tons – too heavy for a helicopter to carry. Instead, a chopper will first fly a lighter, high-tension wire from one side of the gorge to the other. Once secured, the NECA/IBEW team will attach the heavier cable to one end to the lighter wire, then unspool the final cable with the help of machinery. The final cable will never touch the water.
Says Randy Fletcher of O'Connell Electric in an interview with WRZQ of New York, "It'll take about 20 hours of prep time to be ready to pull the cable across, then a good eight or nine hours to get the wire across, so you're talking two-and-a-half to three days to install it." Huge anchors sunk deep into bedrock will anchor the rigging on Terrapin Point of Goat Island on the US side of the falls and at a spot near Table Rock on the Canadian side. The company has been planning the high-wire act for nearly ten months. The union crews practiced by stringing a wire outside the Seneca Niagara Casino, which Wallenda successfully crossed.
French-born Jean-Francois Gravelet was the first funambulist, or tightrope-walker, to cross Niagara in 1859, but unlike the early daredevils who strung their lines more than half-a-mile below the falls, Wallenda will be the first to walk directly across the thunder and spray of the plummeting water.
ABC will devote its entire prime-time schedule to the event, with three hours of coverage beginning at 8:00 pm EST. The historic walk is being sponsored in part by the National Labor-Management Cooperation Committee (NLMCC), a joint organization of NECA and the IBEW.
About NLMCC, NECA and IBEW
Through their joint marketing organization – the National Labor-Management Cooperation Committee (NLMCC) of the organized electrical construction industry – NECA and IBEW together work to:
- Reach customers with accurate information about the industry;
- Achieve better internal communication between labor and management; and
- Support efforts to recruit and train outstanding apprentices and journeymen in order to provide a skilled and reliable workforce.
NECA has provided over a century of service to the $130 billion electrical construction industry that brings power, light and communication technology to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA's national office and 119 local chapters advance the industry through advocacy, education, research and standards development.
With 725,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields – including construction, utilities, telecommunications and manufacturing – IBEW is among the largest member unions in the AFL-CIO. IBEW was founded in 1891.
More information can be found at www.NLMCC.com.
Contact: Mark Walston
SOURCE NLMCCBack to top