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Crews encounter steel canopy truss fit issue on Las Vegas stadium

Updated June 18, 2019 - 12:28 pm

The construction of the $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat domed Las Vegas stadium hit a snag last week, but officials say it’s nothing to be alarmed about.

One of the massive steel canopy trusses was installed on the west side of the stadium last week only to be removed after crews were unable to work around issues relating to fit without removing it, according to Las Vegas Stadium Co. Chief Operating Officer Don Webb.

That process required crews from the stadium building company Mortenson-McCarthy — comprising longtime sports complex builder Mortenson Sports and local construction company McCarthy Building Companies — to bring the L-shaped truss back down to the ground via crane for adjustments on the ground.

“It would be wonderful if life operated the way it does on an engineer’s CAD (computer-aided design) machine in a nice air-conditioned office

and everything fits perfectly and all the geometry is precise, but in the real world things don’t always fit,” Webb said. “So when you find out they don’t fit ,you try to see if you can adjust things to make it fit, but if it doesn’t adjust, then you take it down and you start over. That’s what they did.”

With the complexity and the precision of the tasks on the project, Webb said these kinds of issues are to be expected.

“It’s easy to manipulate these things on a computer screen and everything works perfectly there, but out in the real world, there’s wind and there’s temperature variations and a lot of other things don’t always work that neatly. So, this is just part of building a building. It’s nothing unusual; it’s just big.”

The fit of the trusses are scanned with lasers to register where they need to be. If a variation, even a small one, is not addressed, the variation can grow as work progresses on the structure. Crews won’t attempt to lift the stadium trusses into place if winds are over 17 mph.

“It’s very important to have it very precisely registered. And when it wasn’t precisely registered, they tried to adjust columns. They tried to do a number of things and finally determined that the best thing for us to do is set this back on the ground, re-frame it, double check the geometry and then set it back up.”

Webb said the truss was taken down Friday, and crews worked on it over the weekend. By Monday afternoon, the massive steel component was back up and installed on the stadium.

The up t0 400-ton steel trusses are constructed on the ground and are hoisted up and installed atop of the stadium. It wasn’t the first fit issue the stadium crew has encountered, but it is the first time it had to remove a previously installed truss to make the necessary adjustments, Webb said.

There will be 26 of the canopy trusses in place when the process is complete, and Webb said he estimates about 20 of those are now in place. The canopy trusses give the stadium its oval shape and serve as the base for the stadium’s roof.

Two more canopy trusses are slated to be installed on the west side of the stadium this week, Webb said.

The stadium’s steel canopy trusses will be fully erected by midsummer. Despite the slight delay in the installation process, the reset won’t have an affect on the stadium’s completion date, Webb said.

“We’re still going to finish on July 31, 2020,” he said. “I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that this is an easy, or comfortable or even challenging schedule. This is a very, very challenging schedule, but we have very, very competent people (on the job). Mortenson has never missed an opening date, and all of our schedules that includes 23,000 individual tasks show that we are going to complete on time.”

Monitor the progress of Las Vegas Stadium in this view looking south toward the construction site.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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