Motorists traveling south of Brainerd on Highway 371 around 9:30 a.m. Thursday encountered a huge obstacle near the intersection of the C. Elmer Anderson Memorial Highway near Barrows.
The former Crow Wing Township Hall, which spanned nearly both lanes of traffic, was being moved by Tibbets House Moving of Brainerd. Its final destination was the George Wetherbee residence, about two miles south of its original location on Barrows Avenue on the west side of the C. Elmer Anderson Memorial Highway.
When this highway was built, Barrows Avenue was cut off to reduce access to the highway.
Chris Olson, a Crow Wing Power employee, had to install a jumper to keep the main line energized so it could feed the WJJY/K101 radio station tower and 20 other customers. A few customers had to be without power through the process of moving the former Crow Wing Township Hall.
Also involved in the moving were Crow Wing Power, Holden Electric and a Minnesota State Patrol trooper who directed traffic at the intersection. Two Holden Electric workers, Clay Gleason and Mike Katzenberger, perched in cherry pickers on each side of the two traffic signal wires at the intersection to hold up the wires with their arms. The Crow Wing Power employees made sure the house cleared all the power lines along the way.
Running up one of the power lines near Wetherbee's residence was a line that fed the WJJY/K101 radio tower nearby. Crow Wing Power employees had to reroute a temporary hot jumper to keep the main line energized, providing non-interrupted power to the radio station and 20 other customers. A few customers had to be without power through the process.
Wetherbee bought the building from the township for only $1, but he said it cost him more than $4,000 to move it. The 24-foot by 42-foot town hall will become a 40-foot by 42-foot garage. He said he will build eight-foot additions on each side.
George Wetherbee ran back to a truck to lead the driver of the truck hauling the former Crow Wing Township Town Hall to Wetherbee's residence. Rob Moser, who works in Crow Wing Power's operations department, said the goal for everyone involved in a house moving is to keep the house or building moving.
Wetherbee said the blocking and lifting of the hall began Monday. He started moving it at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and by a little after 10 a.m. the hall was nearly at his residence, ready to become a garage.
Chris Olson, a Crow Wing Power employee, used an electrically insulated fiberglass boom attached to his cherry picker's jib to lift power line wires, allowing the town hall to pass underneath the wires near George Wetherbee's residence. The bottom wire is the neutral wire and has to be treated as energized, said Rob Moser, who works in Crow Wing Power's operations department. For this reason, he said, the public should never assume any wires are safe to touch if they come upon them.
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