Modern Steel Construction » Steel in the News » Steel Moves a 340-Ton Rock

Steel in the News

Back to all posts

Steel Moves a 340-Ton Rock
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM.

We all know that steel is strong, but can it move a 340-ton granite boulder dozens of miles for the sake of art? Scheduled for October 25, a 295-ft-long transporter trussed with red steel girders will carefully move the monolith from the earth in the Stone Valley Quarry to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where it be be a monumental part of artist Michael Heizer’s piece, “Levitated Mass”.


According to a recent article in The New York Times, the giant rock has already been raised off the ground by hydraulic lifts and put in a cradle; steel trusses were built around the cradle, all part of a modular tractor with 22 axles, each with its own set of brakes, and 196 wheels. It will weigh a total of 1,210,900 pounds, including the rock. This journey, nearly five years in the making, will take the boulder through congested urban areas over the course of nine nights at six miles an hour with varying road conditions.


Once the monolith arrives at the museum it will be positioned over a 456-ft-long descending slot, surrounded by tall walls, completing the artwork. If you plan to visit the exhibit when it opens in late November, you’ll be able walk directly underneath the rock and look up 15 ft at its underside.


View a photo slideshow of the boulder’s journey on the modular transporter on the NYT website at Watch a video on the crew’s challenges of moving the 340-ton rock on the LACMA website at
(scroll down to the middle of the page).

Bookmark and Share