University of Texas Expands Stadium

Sat July 21, 2007 - West Edition
David Recht

The University of Texas has embarked on an ambitious renovation to the Darrel K. Royal Memorial Stadium, which houses the nationally-ranked UT football program. According to the official University of Texas Longhorn football Web site,, construction of additional seating, luxury boxes, and a memorial plaza will be completed by fall 2008, in time for the Longhorn football season.

The State of Texas has long been recognized for its football prowess, and the flagship state university has been an instrumental ingredient in developing many football legends.

A storied football team such as the Longhorns needs a facility that is state-of-the-art, not only for the athletes, but for the fans, media, and the university in general. The total price tag for the current round of stadium upgrades is $150 million, and includes several amenities that are already in-place, such as a 55 by 134 ft. “Prostar” video board, according to the team’s Web site.

The general contractor for the project has the arduous task of completing the large-scale project without disrupting the 2007 football schedule. In order to do this, there have been bleachers installed in the south end zone, which the team states increases the stadium’s capacity to 85,123.

To erect the new stadium seats, the project utilizes large commercial cranes, such as the Link-Belt 248 Hylab 5. This Link-Belt model is 200 tons (181.4 t), and features a lattice boom crawler crane. According to Link-Belt, the diesel engine supporting this model is a 263 hp (196 kW) diesel engine, with an oil cooler that is remotely mounted to the engine assembly, allowing for the cooling system to operate more efficiently.

Mobilization for a large-scale stadium project in an urban environment (the stadium is located on campus, at 2100 San Jacinto Boulevard, in the heart of Austin) is a consideration, because the Link-Belt 248 has a track width of 44 in. (111.7 cm), and an estimated weight of 76,000 lbs. (34,000 kg).

The conventional boom for this model of crane is 50 to 280 ft. (15.3 to 85.3 m), but the jib can be installed either on the conventional boom or on the luffing jib, which is a new design modification, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Heavy equipment such as the Hylab plays a critical role in erection of the concrete beams to support the stadium deck, which, in fall 2008, will be full of excited Texas Longhorn football fans, cheering their beloved team against their Big-12 Conference rivals on Saturday afternoons.

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