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Friday, December 4, 2009

Mission: Move a 65 ton submarine section

With the help of a local house mover, an historic piece of a nuclear submarine is expected to be rolled to a new home on the Mare Island waterfront by week's end.Phil Joy of Benicia has volunteered to rig together a series of dollies with a total of 32 wheels, and move the 65-ton structure less than a block away to the island's Building Waterways 2. The sloping cement waterways ramp leads into the Mare Island Strait and is adjacent to historic Dry Dock 1.
The antique tower is a piece of the USS Mariano G. Vallejo submarine, painted black with the number 658 in white. The structure has been preserved on Mare Island since 1996, when it was salvaged from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and displayed between Dry Docks 1 and 2.
"It (weighs) a little bit more than a house," Joy said of the 40-foot submarine conning tower and sail. "It's really
top-heavy ... I'm kind of building a thing underneath it that's really wide."
Joy expects to get the structure rolling by Saturday.
"Some guys were going to donate moving it by water, and move it to where ships are launched," Joy said. "They can't bring a barge in there, (though)."
The move will present some challenges for the house mover, however, as the cement blocks beneath the tower have been "squished to the ground," he said.
"I might as well (donate my services) -- nobody's got any money anyway, and it's a piece of history," Joy said.
The Mare Island Historic Park Foundation, which oversees the submarine remains, was given a Dec. 11 deadline to relocate the tower so the city and property developer Lennar Mare Island could complete environmental cleanup on the land "Phil Joy is being great about this project," foundation Board President Ken Zadwick said. "Based on my conversations with the city, that could be or should be the permanent home."
Zadwick said the tower will be enclosed behind a chain link fence, to protect the structure from anyone climbing on it and being injured (Original News).