Press Release Article

HISTORIC, 5,000-TON NEWARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TERMINAL, AN ART DECO LANDMARK, MAKING A 3,700-FOOT TRIP TO NEW SITE - The Move of the Central Section of Building 51 is the Heaviest Structure Move on Rubber-Tire Dollies in U.S. History

Date: Mar 28, 2001
Press Release Number: 47-2001

Dedicated by Amelia Earhart in 1935 and used by millions of passengers until its retirement as a terminal in 1953, Newark International Airport’s original Terminal Building is making history once again by taking a record-setting journey.
Completing a move that began last year with the relocation of two 1,200-ton wings of the building, the Port Authority is transporting the 5,000-ton central portion this week.

The move of the 65-year-old edifice, also known as Building 51, required dividing the structure into three pieces. Hydraulic jacks slowly lifted each segment of the building eight feet. Rubber-wheeled dollies, each capable of supporting 50 tons, were rolled underneath the building for its journey.

Like the wings transported late last year to the new site, the central portion of the building will be moved at an estimated rate of 100 feet per hour. The move requires 176 dollies, each supported by eight tires (1,408 tires in all). After the building is gently lowered onto concrete foundations, an additional 63,000 square feet of workspace will be added to the present 33,000-square-foot, two-story structure. The site it vacates will be used for additional passenger parking.

The structure, one the nation\'s first airport passenger terminals and a National Historic Landmark, was used by millions of passengers in the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s before being retired from service as an airport terminal in 1953. In its new location nearly three-quarters of a mile to the west, the structure will form the core of a new building housing the Port Authority Police, a garage for emergency vehicles, administrative offices, and a museum with exhibits showcasing Newark International Airport\'s rich history.

“The history of Building 51 is quite remarkable,” said Susan Baer, General Manager of Newark International Airport. “Not only was it the first passenger terminal at the airport and one of the first in the country, but it also was home to the nation’s first air traffic control tower. In 1979, its rich history was recognized when it was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark. It is important we preserve this structure and in doing so, preserve all it represents.”

The work is being done by Prismatic Development Corporation of Fairfield, N.J., the project contractor, and their specialty subcontractors, International Chimney Corporation and Expert House Movers, the same firm that moved the Cape Hatteras, N.C., Lighthouse in 1999.

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