In a sudden change of plans, the Gay Head Light move is now expected to begin around mid-day Thursday, project managers for the relocation project said today. Favorable soil and weather conditions, along with the fine-tuned coordination of several contractors working at the site, has put the project well ahead of schedule.

Balanced on wood and steel, the Gay Head Light is ready to roll. — Mark Lovewell

An earlier move date was set for June 10.

“At this point we have to go forward,” general manager Richard Pomroy, owner of Pomroy Associates, said Tuesday. The 400-ton brick-and-mortar lighthouse now rests about six feet off the ground, supported entirely by a massive framework of wooden blocks and steel beams. “It’s all ready to go,” Mr. Pomroy said.

Students from around the Island will gather to view the move on Friday, with a public viewing planned for Saturday. Len Butler, chairman of the lighthouse relocation committee, said about 20 school classes so far have accepted the invitation to watch the progress. But he was careful to emphasize that the public viewing will be on Saturday only.

“We don’t want big crowds up here before Saturday,” Mr. Butler said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the 1856 lighthouse stood in the center of an enormous excavation, balanced on the wood and steel frame that will travel with the lighthouse. A smooth concrete pad to the east, backed by a curved retaining wall, awaited the new arrival. Blue sky showed both around and underneath the lighthouse, creating a thrilling and improbable scene.

Lighthouse stands ready. — Timothy Johnson

A single thin rope anchored to the top edge of the pit passed through the center of both the lighthouse and the new foundation 129 feet away. A small stone dangling by a pink thread held the rope taught. The lighthouse will travel along massive steel beams soon to be placed exactly parallel to the rope.

“There is no turning,” Mr. Butler said of the process. “Once this thing starts rolling it just has to go in an exact straight line. So if we were off by two degrees, by the time we got down over there we would be five feet off center.” The lighthouse would have to be sent back to the beginning and the beams readjusted.

If all goes as planned, the move will take about three days, Mr. Pomroy said.

Only five workers were onsite Tuesday, and that is likely all it will take to complete the move, Mr. Butler said. But over the course of the last several weeks there were as many 15 workers there at once, in addition to engineers, archaeologists, filmmakers and others involved in the project.

Mr. Pomroy said teamwork was key in moving things along.

“We’ve been really running a tight ship,” he said.

More photos of the Gay Head Light prepared for the move.