Depending on Mother Nature the Cape San Blas Lighthouse will be moved Tuesday from its current location into the city of Port St. Joe.
Of course, Mother Nature is pretty much why the lighthouse is being moved at all.
Weather permitting the lighthouse, two keepers’ quarters and an oil house will begin the move into the city beginning around 8 a.m. ET Tuesday morning.
The contractor hopes to be off the Cape and onto U.S. Highway 98 from State 30A by the end of the business day, or around 5 p.m. ET.
From there the buildings will be carried to George Core Park, where footers were poured for the main lighthouse stanchions early last week.
The plan, said city manager Jim Anderson, was to erect the lighthouse in George Core Park the following day.
Clay Smallwood with Preble Rish Engineers, the project manager for the move, said the structural engineer approved a 7-day cure for the footers and they will be ready for the lighthouse when it arrives.
The lighthouse, all roughly 100 feet and 60 tons of it, will be set on its side Thursday or Friday morning and placed on a flatbed vehicle to be transported as a single unit. There had been talk at one time that a move would require partially dismantling the structure.
One certainty is there will be impacts to traffic to and from St. Joseph Peninsula during much of the day and in the city proper for a time in the evening.
County, city and Florida Department of Transportation staff will post message boards at U.S. 98 and State 30A and along Cape San Blas Road to inform motorists of alternatives and any detours, but during the relocation localized traffic only will be allowed.
Duke Energy has already staged trucks in the area as the company will adjust power lines to accommodate the caravan of buildings as they move toward Port St. Joe.
There will be isolated and rolling power outages as lines are dropped and re-raised. They should last no more than 60-90 minutes, if that, Anderson said.
The move is the final step in a process that has taken nearly two years and at what time involved some debate among city and county officials about the proper site for the lighthouse.
The Cape San Blas Lighthouse, which stood over 100 years at its current location, came under dire threat after Hurricane Isaac took significant shoreline the summer of 2012 following years of erosion in the area.
Eglin Air Force Base, which owns the property on which the structure sits, decided to surplus the lighthouse, which had been leased by the county, in order to save and preserve it.
The city and Board of County Commissioners submitted competing proposals to obtain the lighthouse and ancillary structures – the lease with the BOCC was nullified by Eglin’s declaring the lighthouse surplus – but ultimately at Christmas time in 2012 the Department of the Interior deeded the lighthouse and buildings to the city.
Through a private fundraising campaign boosted by more than $500,000 in state appropriations the city assembled more than $700,000 to foot the cost of relocation.