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Nik Wallenda Niagara Falls Walk

10:47 PM, Jun 12, 2012   |    comments
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NIAGARA FALLS, NY -- Next to Nik Wallenda's actual high wire walk itself, rigging of the cable upon which he will cross the world famous Horseshoe Falls may be the biggest marvel associated with the stunt.

WEB EXTRA: Photo Gallery: Cable Rigging Begins For Nik Wallenda Walk

That task, nearly one year in the planning, began in earnest Monday when crews began setting up their needed equipment.

Terrapin Point closed at 4pm Tuesday so crews can start pulling a wire by helicopter over the Falls.  The cable Wallenda will walk across will be attached to this wire and pulled across the Falls.

"It's kind of amazing how people find this interesting," remarked Peter Catchpole of Power Engineering, who was hired by Wallenda to design the rigging for his 1,800 foot long, two inch diameter cable.

"I even read the plan...twice!" Catchpole joked.

The job also represents a homecoming for Catchpole, who lives in Idaho but who grew up in Southern Ontario, within minutes of the American border near Niagara Falls.

Here's How It Works:

As we've previously reported, a high tension, lighter cable was first affixed to a helicopter and flown across the gorge.

"As soon as we can get the okay from the Maid of the Mist that they finished running for the day and everybody is clear of the river, then we'll go ahead and start that,"said Randy Fletcher, a foreman for Rochester based O'Connell Electric who is overseeing the rigging task.

That was delayed Tuesday because a briefing took longer than expected.  We're told the delay was not because of weather.

Once the first wire, or "messenger wire" is secured on both sides, one end of the cable Wallenda will actually walk upon (weighing seven tons) will be attached to one end and then winched back across the gorge with giant machines.

The whole apparatus will be anchored to bolts sunk deep into the bedrock a few hundred yards back from the brink of the falls near Terrapin Point on the American side, and on the Canadian side near Table Rock.

Asked what aspect of the job presented the biggest challengs, Catchpole told WGRZ-TV, "The devil is always in the details so it's lots of little things. I would say the timing. We only have from today to Wednesday morning at dawn to have it up."

Meanwhile, the Niagara Power Project says it will open its parking lot seven miles downriver from the Falls on June 15th, for 600 cars which will be able to park for free. However, a ride on a shuttle bus from that location to a drop off point a few blocks from Niagara Falls State Park will cost $5 per person.

In addition, Niagara Falls Coach Lines will open its lot on Buffalo Avenue to cars. The fee will be $10 per vehicle, with no shuttle service, leaving those who choose to park there with a trek of about one mile to the park.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Dave Harrington. 

You can also see additional tips for parking on the American side in Niagara Falls, NY by clicking here.

For information on parking lots and shuttles on the Canadian side, click here.

Click here to visit our special "Walk In 2 History" web site, where you can review all of our past stories on Nik Wallenda's daring stunt.

WGRZ-TV, wgrz.com