Kansas statue not headed

A 4,100-pound statue of an Indian that was supposed to take up residence atop the Kansas Statehouse Monday had to be lowered back to the ground after construction workers discovered some bolts couldn’t be tightened enough.

“Ad Astra” — named for the state motto, “Ad Astra Per Aspera,” which is Latin for “To the Stars Through Difficulties” – will remain on the ground until at least Thursday.

A crane lifted the 20-foot-tall bronze Kansa Indian to the Capitol’s dome for a few hours Monday during a celebratory raising, but workers for contractor J.E. Dunn Construction found five of 17 bolts connecting the statue’s base and the tower’s plate were too loose. The holes in the base and the plate apparently were slightly mismatched. Hundreds of people watched as the crane lowered the Indian back to earth.

“We’re not going to fly the statue up today,” Gregg Lynch, project manager for the construction company, told the Associated Press Tuesday. “We’re going to do this right.”

Engineers and construction foremen instead spent the day discussing how to solve the bolt problem.

Ad Astra has his bow drawn with an arrow aimed at the North Star. The project was initiated in 1988 and has cost $1.6 million.

To view photos of the Kansas State Capitol, click the link in the right-hand column.