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Skanska Builds Super New Giants Stadium

Wed February 06, 2008 - Northeast Edition
David S. Chartock

Site work and ongoing adjacent construction projects are among the challenges faced by the team that is building New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The $998 million, 2.2-million-sq.-ft. (204,387 sq m) steel and concrete facility will include 82,000 seats and 217 luxury suites for New York Giants and Jets fans.

According to Frank Falciani, senior vice president of Skanska USA Building, the project’s Parsippany, N.J.-based design-build construction manager, work began May 21, 2007. In addition to the stadium, substantial site work is included in the project.

Construction on the project’s 157-acre (63.5 ha) site will consist of 10 parking lots with approximately 15,000 parking spaces, access roadways, a plaza around the New Meadowlands Stadium, and underground utilities for the stadium. The utilities also will be used for another project currently under construction — the Giants Training Facility.

Utility work will consist of electricity, site lighting, telecommunications cabling, storm and sanitary sewers, water and the coordination of the gas service.

The contract calls for asphalt parking lots and access roads, concrete curbs and concrete/decomposed granite sidewalk medians, a service area northeast of the New Meadowlands Stadium and a nearly 200-ft.-wide (61 m) plaza around the new stadium.

The project will include deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs and different types of ground cover in the plaza and the medians surrounding the parking lots and access roads.

The New Meadowlands Stadium will be erected, along with traffic and informational signs for the roadways and parking lots. Eventually, the existing Giants Stadium will be demolished.

The new facility will be home field for both the Giants and the Jets.

“It will be the first facility built specifically to accommodate two National Football League [NFL] teams. The stadium also will be used for concerts and other entertainment and sports activities,” Falciani noted.

The 2.2-million-sq.-ft. project will be part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J. The location is between the existing football stadium and the Meadowlands Racetrack. Included in the overall scope of the project will be construction of a new stadium; construction of its utilities and site improvements; demolition of the existing stadium; and site restoration.

The new stadium will be a steel structure with concrete slab-on-deck and a structural slab-on-grade. The stadium will contain more than 16,500 pieces of steel, weighing in at 24,000 tons (21,772 t). By mid-January of 2008, steel had been partially erected to the second concourse on the east side line and south end zone of the stadium.

Approximately 3,700 pieces of steel have been erected using two Liebherr 1400 cranes and one Liebherr 1300 crane. Decking and detailing are ongoing.

There will be approximately 5,200 steel pipe piles filled with concrete supporting the stadium and field. The piles for the stadium bowl are substantially complete. Piles to support the concrete field slab are not scheduled to be installed until the spring of 2009. Piles were driven with up to three driving rigs. The pile rigs were Manitowoc 3900Bs and 3000Ws.

The foundation for the stadium consists primarily of grade beams and pile caps. The structural slab-on-grade is supported by pile caps and continuous grade beams.

“The foundations for the stadium bowl are approximately 80 percent complete,” Falciani explained, adding that “the slab-on-grade is a 1-foot-thick concrete structural slab.”

Structural slab-on-grade construction is ongoing. In most areas, the slab-on-grade is being placed ahead of steel erection. Approximately 80 percent of the outer bowl slab-on-grade had been placed by mid-January.

The project’s underground plumbing and electrical work are being installed ahead of slab-on-grade pours. Hangers are being used to suspend the the underground plumbing and electrical lines from the slab-on-grade. The underground utility installation is ongoing.

The slab-on-deck concrete placement is being performed behind the steel erection and metal deck placement. Placement of the slab-on-deck started in mid-December 2007 in the south end zone at concourse one and is ongoing. East sideline slab-on-deck placement at concourse one began in mid-January.

The project team, according to Falciani, is faced with many challenges, one of which is the relocation of electric and telecommunication services to the existing Giants Stadium within 2.5 months and without interruption. To meet this challenge, meticulous coordination with the utility service providers and extensive overtime work were required.

“One of the biggest challenges of the stadium’s construction is to build the stadium directly adjacent to the existing and operational Giants Stadium and working on a consistently active campus of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority [NJSEA]. The new stadium, once completed, will reside approximately 30 feet from the corner of Gate B of the existing Giants Stadium,” said Falciani. “As a result, the construction sequence of the new stadium had to be coordinated around ongoing stadium and site operations,” he said.

During the 2007 NFL season, construction of the southwest portion of the new west side line could not commence. The existing stadium service road and Gate B were left operational throughout the 2007 season. Now that 2007 is finished, Skanska will be allowed to demolish the existing stadium Gate B complex and close the adjacent service road to start construction of that portion of the stadium. This work is scheduled to begin in early February. As a result, the new stadium needed to be sequenced and contracts purchased to accommodate the “leave out” area.

“With ongoing NJSEA operations at the existing Giants Stadium, the Meadowlands Racetrack and the Sport Arena, Skanska is required to construct the project in very specific and discrete phases,” Falciani continued.

At no time during the NFL seasons is Skanska allowed to work outside the new stadium’s construction fence. All site utility work, road configuration work and parking lot phasing work must be completed in-between each of the NFL seasons. Skanska is required to coordinate operations around ongoing arena events and Meadowlands racing events.

There are three other major construction projects going on at the Meadowlands facility simultaneously — a new railroad project, the new Giants training facility and Xanadu.

The railroad project is adjacent to the east side line and the north end zone of the new stadium.

Skanska is required to hold coordination meetings with the NJSEA and related railroad groups to ensure both projects go smoothly. In the early stages of the new stadium, steel erection in the north end zone was contingent upon completing the reconstruction of the perimeter service road of the railroad project. With careful and close coordination between all entities, Skanska has sequenced construction in this area of the new stadium concurrently.

Another project is the establishment of a Small, Disadvantaged, Woman-Owned and Minority-Owned (S/D/M/WBE) program. Falciani said, “Skanska’s original goal for S/D/M/WBE participation was 15 percent. However, to date we are at about 30 percent participation, thus exceeding our original plan.”

This was achieved using outreach to the surrounding communities, including subcontractor partnership expositions, procurement workshops and expositions, and a “Building Blocks” Training Program, held in conjunction with Rutgers University — Newark and the New Jersey Small Business Development Center. The Building Blocks Training Program recently held a graduation for the 40 members of the first class of S/D/M/WBE firms that attended the eight-week course.

To further facilitate the project, superintendents meetings are held daily prior to the start of work to help coordinate the various trades employed at the site. Subcontractor meetings are held weekly.

Development team members include 360 Architects of Kansas City, Mo., design architect; Ewing Cole Architects of Philadelphia, production architect and mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer; Thornton Tomasetti of New York City, structural engineer; the New York Giants and the New York Jets, co-owners; Macedos Concrete Corp. of Flemington, N.J., concrete contractor; and Eastern Concrete Materials Inc., a U.S. Concrete Co., Elmwood Park, N.J., ready-mix concrete supplier.

According to Bill Lyons, manager of engineered sales of Eastern Concrete Materials, his firm is supplying all of the concrete for the New Meadowlands Stadium. The concrete ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 psi and it contains structural fibers in the concrete used in the elevated decks for concrete crack control, Lyons added.

Major heavy construction equipment used includes Komatsu PC 600 and PC 400, Caterpillar 325 and 330, and Hitachi 750 and 450 excavators; Komatsu WA450 and WA150 as well as Caterpillar 966G and 950 loaders; Komatsu D41P and D39 and Caterpillar D8 & D6R bulldozers; two Liebherr 1400 and one Liebherr 1300 cranes; and Manitowoc 3900B and 3000W pile rigs.

The project is being constructed using fast-track procedures and is several months ahead of schedule. Falciani said “No night work or weekend work was utilized to achieve the current schedule status. To date, the average crew size totals about 300.”

The New Meadowlands Stadium is scheduled for completion in April 2010. CEG

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