By SAMANTHA MCDONNELL
OBSERVER Staff Writer
BROCTON - It is not everyday that you have to stop traffic for a piece of metal, but motorists in the village of Brocton had to yield the right away to heavy machinery. Following months of a bare intersection, the infamous Brocton Arch is returning.
On Saturday, the main legs of the arch were put back in place. The legs are the first pieces to be returned following months of the four-corner arch's restoration work. A small crowd gathered Saturday morning to watch as workers from Buffalo Iron Corps. and the village put in place the four legs. Village Clerk Karen Ardillo said putting the arch back up is a lot safer than taking it down. The arch was deconstructed in October and the village opted to do it during the evening.
"When we took the halo down, the (arch) could have fallen every which way. That's why we did it at night when there was less traffic," she said.
The four legs of the arch had to be completely replaced due to car accidents bending the original. The top pieces that will be put up today will be the original pieces of the arch.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Al Valentin (left) and Village Electric Lineman Joe Majkowski (right) watch as workers from Buffalo Iron Corps. install the first of four legs on the Brocton Arch Saturday. The legs have been replaced due to the original arch being damaged and bent as a result of car accidents.
The green paint on the legs is as close to the original paint as Buffalo Iron Corps. could get it. Vice President Patrick Hanley Jr. said the paint had faded on the original arch, that's why the legs look much more greener.
Mayor Dave Hazelton, along with much of the village, was thrilled the arch was coming back. Ardillo said the arch is the "heart and soul" of Brocton.
"I'm excited, delighted and thrilled they are coming back," Hazelton said.
Brocton resident Jim DeAngelo, along with his wife, were walking their dogs and stopped to watch the arch reconstruction. Both live up the street and said they will come on Sunday to watch the reconstruction completed.
"It's a cool thing, a historical thing (to witness)," DeAngelo said.
Portland Historian Al Valentin also stopped to watch the construction. He said he had been following the progress of the restoration. He had anticipated the return of the landmark in January, but due to delays during restoration was forced to wait along with the rest of the village.
"It's a pretty exciting day, a very historical event," Valentin said. "It's a once in-a-lifetime thing."
The rest of the arch will be put up starting this afternoon. All pieces put into place today will be the original arch that has been restored. The arch legs have been moved back nine inches from the curb to protect from car accidents. Lake and Highland avenues and a portion of Route 20 will be closed today starting around 1 p.m. The road will be closed for approximately two to three hours while the arch is reconstructed.
"We want to do it after church hours so everyone can get home," Ardillo said.
The village will install a time capsule at a later date. LED lights will also be installed by Village Electric Lineman Joe Majkowski in about six weeks when they are delivered. The lights will be able to change colors to correspond to various holidays. Majkowski was on hand Saturday to install an electrical box and run wires up the legs that will control the lights once installed.