Local News

Towering Achievement Nets Award

Posted July 30, 2000

— The World Trade Center. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. All have won the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.

But the lighthouse's achievement is different from most -- it won it for moving. Last year, to protect the beloved lighthouse from ever-encroaching waves, the structure was raised up, put on rollers and moved to a safer spot.

For Al Tice and Andrew Bick -- part of the brains behind the brawn needed to make the move -- the award brings back happy memories.

"June 16th about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we moved it about 4 inches," Tice recalled.

Oh, the memories. All kept in a scrapbook ofstep-by-step photographs

But it is a complicated picture. Behind the glossy finish is the mark of an engineer.

"With this one, we're taking the building already finished and sliding it on from the side," Tice says, looking at a photo.

It was not going to fall over, because it was very bottom heavy. But if one side moved more, and it bent, then the lighthouse structure would experience some strain, and crack.

The pressure was on the engineers. They were well aware they were moving a historic monument. They did move it, successfully, and the awards followed.

This latest award is the big one. The Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award. was once awarded to the Statue of Liberty -- now, it has gone to another American monument.

Some might think the monument itself is a 200-foot trophy. For Tice and Bick, the project itself was its own reward.

"Just knowing that you were involved with something that was of that scale and it went successfully," Bick said.

"I guess we can take our grandchildren there and show them that Granddaddy was part of that project," Tice said.

Roughly 40 engineers worked on the lighthouse project. They were among 362 people involved in the move.

A list of all those names has been tucked inside a time capsule and buried beneath the lighthouse steps.


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