High winds end attempt to fix Capitol flag | NevadaAppeal.com

High winds end attempt to fix Capitol flag

Tom Pierce attempts to repair the flag pole on top of the Capitol dome Tuesday morning, but high winds forced Pierce back to the ground before repairs could be made.
Jim Grant | Nevada Appeal

Tuesday’s high winds quickly put an end to the first attempt to fix the machinery that raises and lowers the flag over Nevada’s Capitol.

A crew from Young Electric Sign Company in Reno arrived to help state officials fix the broken cable. YESCO has the tallest boom lift in Northern Nevada, capable of reaching 160 feet above the ground. But even at full extension, Tom Pierce said he was still about 10 feet away from the top of the pole atop the Capitol dome.

And even as he was being raised to that level, he said the winds over the crest of the roof were approaching 50 mph, causing the cage he was riding in to sway violently. Even though Pierce does this for a living, he said it was a scary moment.

“The winds were too strong,” said Facilities Supervisor Jon Vietti of Buildings and Grounds. “We have to regroup.”

Pierce said that wouldn’t happen Tuesday, that they need a new approach to get the boom lift closer to the rear wall of the Capitol and a much calmer day.

The cable snapped during a February windstorm as security attempted to lower the flag.

Vietti said he spent a couple of weeks trying to locate a machine that can reach high enough while also waiting for the weather to get better. It has been nice for a couple of days but, by the time YESCO was able to get the machine to Carson City, it was again the weather that interfered.

If YESCO can get to the poll, it will be Pierce’s job to thread a new cable inside the poll so once again the flag can fly over the historic Capitol.

If that company can’t reach the top of the poll, Vietti said the other option is a machine capable of reaching 180 feet in the air. But that machine, one of few in the nation, is in Las Vegas and he said with transportation and rental, it will cost nearly $10,000 to get it here and repair the flag mechanism. That’s many times what Vietti said YESCO is charging the state.