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LA-bound big rock to get extra push up hill

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POSTED March 2, 2012 8:32 p.m.



 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Just like the little engine that thought it could, the people hauling a 340-ton rock for an earthy work of art know they can get up the next hill and make it to Los Angeles.

Just to make sure, however, they called in reinforcements Friday in the form of an extra engine that will give the football-field-length trailer an extra shove up a fairly modest hill in Diamond Bar.

The rock pulled up two miles short of its scheduled stop early in the day because of a balky transmission in the engine pulling it from the front.

"We didn't want to be stuck on a hill, so we pulled over and played it safe," said Rick Albrecht, who is supervising the move for Emmert International.

The rock is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on March 10, where the two-story boulder will become the centerpiece of earth artist Michael Heizer's "Levitated Mass."

After it's installed over a 456-foot-long trench behind the museum, the artist says it will give people who walk beneath it the illusion that it's floating above them.

Heizer, perhaps best known for a secretive Mount Rushmore-sized work titled "City" that he is building out of the earth near his home in Nevada, conceived the idea for "Levitated Mass" 44 years ago. He waited decades to find the perfect rock to pull it off.

After he discovered it in a quarry in Riverside, it took museum officials and movers months to figure out how to get it the 60 miles to Los Angeles.

They finally settled on a round-about, 105-mile route through Southern California that avoids bridges, low-slung freeway overpasses and narrow streets. They had to get each of the 22 cities along the way to sign off on the plan.

It is costing the museum as much as $10 million to complete the project, money provided by well-heeled Los Angeles arts patrons.

Because of its size, the rock is only permitted to be moved between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

As it leaves the boondocks and gets into denser cities like Long Beach, Torrance and finally Los Angeles, increasing numbers of people are expected to turn out to see it.

Albrecht said the rock is still on schedule to make its next stop Saturday morning at Pathfinder Community Regional Park in Rowland Heights, where it will hunker down for the weekend.

 

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