PARIS (AP) — A crane hoisted a massive oak truss from a barge onto Notre-Dame Cathedral on Tuesday, a spectacular effort to rebuild the monument devastated by the fire and set the stage for Bring it back to life by December 2024.
The trusses weigh between 7 and 7.5 tons, and this delicate operation attracts crowds on a bridge over the Seine and its banks.
“I think this morning is a magical moment for many Parisians,” said Transport Minister Clement Beaune, noting that the Seine will be at the center of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
General Jean-Louis Georgelin, who was appointed by French President Emmanuel Macron to oversee the rebuilding of Notre Dame, said work on the world-famous cathedral would not stop even with heavy traffic expected during the Summer Olympics.
“We will work on the cathedral during the Olympics so that it will be ready in December 2024,” he said. “That’s our goal.”
Located on an island in the Seine overlooking the historic core of Paris, Notre Dame was devastated by fire in 2019. It was decided to rebuild the monument using the methods of yesteryear.
Expert carpenters used medieval techniques to construct the trusses, which were 14 to 16 meters (46 to 52 ft) wide and 12 to 13 meters (39 to 43 ft) high.
Guided by ropes, the trusses were placed on the roof around the iconic spire, which was reduced to ashes in the fire, and the arms of the transept are the wooden skeleton of Notre-Dame. A statement said that as work progressed, the cathedral’s silhouette, now surrounded by scaffolding, should emerge on the skyline.
Associated Press reporter Jeffrey Schaeffer contributed to this report.