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New Jersey driver tasked with job of moving Statue of Liberty's original torch

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NEW YORK -

The Statue of Liberty's original torch has sat on display inside the statue's pedestal since it was replaced in 1984, but it will soon have a new home in a gleaming new museum being built on Liberty Island.

Thursday, they had to move it.

When you're moving a treasured 130-year national icon and have only a few inches of clearance at several points along the way, it's a job best left to a New Jersey driver.

As workers moved Augusto Bartholdi's dismantled torch and replica of the statue's face, there was Carlos DaSilva, of Kearny, steering the trailer toward the torch's new home.

This torch has been around.

Built in France, it was displayed in Philadelphia and New York City in the 1870s as part of a fundraising effort for the statue as it was being built. 

It stood as Liberty's lamp beside the golden door for almost a century before it was replaced in the 1980's renovation.

The work along with the museum construction, is being done by Phelps Construction of Boonton.

“It's been a great honor for our company,” says Doug Phelps with Phelps Construction Group. “We're a New Jersey company and it's a great honor for us to have been chosen by the foundation to build the new museum we've been working out here for almost two years, been involved in the project for five years and today it's a great honor we're moving a national treasure. Last night was the big night. We actually rigged it and got it through the opening, we ended up having about an inch and a half clearance was all we had but we made it out and I'm a happy man today.

The opening of the new Statue of Liberty museum is scheduled for May.

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