As the Ark construction is underway so is the study of the proposed traffic flow into the Ark Encounter parking lots. To do this, we have to use a powerful and versatile traffic simulation software. You begin by entering the road networks, which in this case is a major north-south interstate highway. I-75 runs from just northwest of Miami, Florida, all the way through Michigan to Canada. The other road is Kentucky State Road 36. Then you program the current traffic of the area and enter data for number of cars and buses that will bring anywhere from 1.2–1.6 million people the first year.
Assuming 2.6 passengers per vehicle and 40 passengers per bus, we can accurately model and visualize the behavior of traffic. Today’s technology is so advanced that you can determine how long it will take a southbound vehicle off of Interstate 75 to reach the parking lot on the busiest day! This sophisticated software provides us with a solution for evaluating the traffic impact around the Williamstown exit—not just for the opening year, but several years to come.
Though we haven’t had record snowfall amounts this February, we did have a unique series of three different events that dropped about 3–4 inches each time last week. It snowed on Monday, Wednesday, and then again on Saturday! It gives an added meaning to the term Northern Kentucky. But as you can see from the pictures, work continues to move right along. It’s a little too cold for pouring concrete, but next week looks promising with the highs in the 50s.
Concrete mixers in place
Work crews and their trucks ready for action
These guys would probably prefer a summer day!
This pole will bring an enormous amount of energy to the site!
Recently several members of the Ark Encounter team flew to Colorado to check out the lumber that is being cut and treated for the Ark. This is a picture of the first timber off the CNC machine at Colorado Timber Frame. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, which means that the wood for the Ark is being precisely cut by a computerized machine with a number of different tools like drills and saws. Colorado Timber Frame is one of the few places in the U.S. that could handle such a tall order. This is a picture of the Ark timber in the yard. Each piece is worth $3,000!
Here are 2 of the 64 center poles. This picture is a representation of about 40% of the timber on site. Soon truckloads with this timber will be headed to Kentucky for the construction of the largest timber frame structure in the United States, if not the world!
A popular greeting in Kentucky is “How’s it going?” In Australia, where Ken Ham is from, they say, “G’Day, how ya goin’?” To give you an idea of how it’s going at the Ark Encounter, here are some pictures from last week prior to the three snow storms that passed over Northern Kentucky since these were taken.
This is a picture of a sunrise on the Ark property.
Pylons under construction. These pylons will lift the Ark 12 feet into the air.
An enormous amount of rebar before they pour the concrete.
This is the utility pole showing how much dirt had to be moved to level the site for the parking lot.
A picture of how to control soil erosion by spraying on a straw bedding.
You might say that this took a master plumber to complete the work!
Due to an inordinate amount of curious people, we have recently installed a gate and posted signs that the Ark Encounter construction site is off limits. It is just not safe to leisurely take a drive off of the interstate and go sightseeing on such a huge complex with heavy equipment moving about everywhere! It’s one thing to share the road with a cement mixer, but that driver is not expecting a family sedan on a worksite where everyone is in a reflective safety vest and hard hat.
You might have heard that we are experiencing a bitterly cold Winter’s visit to the Bluegrass State! But no worries if you have huge rolls of plastic to create a greenhouse effect! The show must go on! It has to be one of the biggest if not the coldest greenhouses in North America. We have had record-low temperatures this week. Continue to pray for the safety of the many construction workers on the site! And like the workers that helped build the Creation Museum, pray that many will come to know the Lord as their personal Savior!
With over four inches of snow on the ground here in Northern Kentucky and temperatures plunging below zero, construction on the Ark may have slowed down on the outside, but work continues at the design studio. Here are a few pictures of the assembly of larger cages that will be placed inside the Ark.
These larger cages are constructed from poplar and eucalyptus. In the meantime, Harrison Craig, the lead technical designer of the Ark project, has finished the prototype of the smaller cages. The smaller cages will be made from cedar and bamboo. A ceramic container will be used as a water vessel.
As we continue to build and create items that will be placed in the Ark, we will store them in the warehouse space adjoined to the design studio. Can you imagine the truckloads of items that will need to be shipped down to the Ark Encounter once it is complete? It will be a boatload!
As the Ark construction slowly starts to climb vertically, all hands are on deck back at our design studio as employees work on the exhibits that will fill up the Ark. The first picture is of a supply of Styrofoam that will be used to carve out and sculpt animals for exhibits.
The next group of pictures is of Doug Henderson, Jesse Pie, and Ben Iocco working on the first of many animal models from the long list that need to be done.
Here is a picture of Joel Briggs “in training” so that he can soon join the others in crafting the various animals needed.
At the other end of the model room, Allen Greene and Humberto Amaro are working on a mock-up of the gift shop for the Ark.
Though the Ark construction is over a year from completion, time is ticking away quickly at the design studio!
Unlike the Creation Museum, which runs into parking issues on extremely busy days causing guests to park on the back forty, the Ark Encounter is being built on a massive tract of land. In fact, the parking lots for guests at the Ark will take up 45 acres! That’s almost the size of the museum property. To get from the parking lots to the Ark will involve a bus ride of about a mile down into a valley and across a bridge that hasn’t been built yet, and then up the hill to the drop off point near the entrance to the Ark. The road on the Ark side has been graded out and stone has been placed down to the point where it will cross the bridge.
This video shows what the road looks like from the Ark side down to where the bridge needs to be built over a blue line creek (a blue line creek on your property means you cannot build or disturb the land within 30 feet of the centerline running through the winding, curvy stream of water).
When your neighbor comes back from the nursery with a pile of mulch or topsoil in the back of his pickup, you are looking at approximately a half ton to a ton in weight. At the Ark site, we needed to move approximately 1,500,000 cubic yards of dirt, which is equivalent to about 2,700,000 tons.
Imagine how long that would take your neighbor to move that much with his pickup! He’d have to get 20 more people with their trucks hauling 10 loads a day, 7 days per week, for 35 years! Obviously, we needed some bigger machines to move dirt at the Ark property.
A wheel tractor-scraper would get lined up and then two dozers would help push it as it scraped up tons of dirt. There are only about 200,000 tons remaining to be moved.
The Ark Site excavation is done, and we are finishing up the parking lots now. Here is a picture of a utility pole at the original grade.
Fire cisterns are a reliable year-round water source for firefighters to supplement water that is available from fire hydrants. Providing a fire cistern in compliance with a local fire department’s design and storage volume requirements may reduce insurance premiums and create a valuable emergency water resource. This is especially true in the case of the Ark, which will be the largest wooden structure in North America, if not the world. Here are pictures of the Ark’s cistern for fire suppression in the center tower, along with a picture of erection forms for the east wall of the center tower getting ready for a concrete pour.
Our cistern will hold 50,000 gallons of water! When the Creation Museum was first built, it had the benefit of a three-acre lake beside it until all of the necessary fire hydrants were installed. As you can see, building an Ark nowadays seems to involve more details than when Noah built his!