The ‘tightrope’ Wallenda will traverse has been painstakingly installed by O’Connell Electric of Victor, N.Y. When O’Connell Electric COO Tom Parkes first received the call from Nik Wallenda, he thought it might be a prank. However, after some convincing, Wallenda was able to lay out his proposal for O’Connell to consider. Although several electrical contractors were considered for this enormous task, O’Connell was selected due to their expertise and long professional experience installing high tension transmission and distribution utility lines, in some cases over many miles.
Installation of the cable required precise engineering and planning. In order to not interfere with the running of the Maid of the Mist, crews worked at night during the week preceding the walk. Because the cable Wallenda will walk weighs in at over 7 tons, a lighter leader rope had to be put in place with a helicopter first. With micropiles secured 65 feet underground on both the U.S. and Canadian sides, O’Connell’s crew and equipment began the task of bringing across the actual cable before raising it to a tension of 60,000 pounds. When all was in place and inspected, linemen went out on the cable in baskets specifically designed for this project to attach stabilizers which will keep the cable from rolling and swaying. A handful of men can now say that they, too, were suspended over Niagara Falls. Final adjustments and inspections were made on Thursday, June 14, including a meeting with Wallenda in preparation for Friday’s walk.
This type of venture is nothing new for O’Connell Electric. The company has established itself in the electrical construction industry by taking on high profile, high risk projects, including the monumental task of providing power for the 1980 Winter Olympics at White Face Mountain in Lake Placid.
O’Connell Electric is proud to be part of this historic event and looks forward to Nik Wallenda’s successful and exciting walk across Niagara Falls.