Within a year of the massive boulder that was moved to LACMA and the space shuttle Endeavour's tour of Inglewood and South LA, preparations are under way to haul another massive object through city streets.
This time it is Chevron that plans on transporting six 500,000-pound drums from Redondo Beach's King Harbor to the energy's refinery in El Segundo.
On Monday in Redondo Beach, crews removed four palm trees from the center median on Harbor Drive at Herondo Street, and they’re getting ready to re-route utilities to clear the way for the huge steel drums, which are currently at the Port of LA.
They're called coker drums, and they’re used by Chevron to make fuel. They were shipped in last month from a manufacturer in Spain.
In a few weeks, they’ll be moved by barge over water to King Harbor. The drums will then be carried by truck up Sepulveda Boulevard north to Rosecrans Avenue, where the to Chevron El Segundo Refinery sits. The drums will replace aging equipment there.
"We’ve spent over the last year planning and collaborating with local cities, with Caltrans, with a lot of the lessons learned from the space shuttle," Chevron spokesman Jeff Wilson said.
Massive crowds lined the streets last year to see the Endeavour squeeze between trees and structures, sometimes coming within inches of businesses.
This time, some of the same equipment will be used to move the Chevron cylinders. They’re not quite as fun to look at, but they are nearly as big. And Chevron says they’re necessary to the Southland.
"The refinery supplies 20 percent of the motor vehicle fuel in Southern Cailfornia and 40 percent of jet fuel at LAX," Wilson said.
The new drums will be moved two at a time, overnight, on three consecutive Wednesdays beginning Feb. 20.
As with the space shuttle move, some power lines will have to be raised to make room for the Chevron effort. Trees will be trimmed and traffic signals moved again as well.
Though far fewer trees had to be removed than were cut down for the shuttle move, the uprooting is getting mixed reviews from residents in the South Bay.
"I like the palms," Redondo Beach resident Justin Douglas said. "They’re old and gorgeous and shouldn’t be cut down."