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FAA to look at potential Las Vegas Raiders stadium height issues

Updated June 21, 2017 - 4:55 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration will examine whether the height of the Oakland Raiders’ new domed stadium could hinder aircraft operations at nearby McCarran International Airport, agency officials confirmed Wednesday.

The Raiders filed a request for the FAA to review 21 different points on a 62-acre plot of land on Russell Road, just west of Interstate 15, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The FAA reviews any structure 150 feet or taller, regardless of location, but the Raiders have not disclosed the height of the venue, estimated at $1.9 billion. The FAA may also study other factors, including stadium lighting and post-game fireworks that could affect jetliners passing through the nation’s eighth-busiest airport.

A Raiders team official declined to comment.

A copy of the request for the study — known as an obstruction evaluation and airport airspace analysis — was not yet posted on the FAA’s website because the agency has asked a minor question about the team’s wording in the project description. The FAA will not start the height-requirement review until the question is answered.

There is not a set timeline to complete such reviews, but the Raiders have signaled that they hope to start construction by the end of the year, with plans to have the 65,000-seat stadium open in time for the 2020 NFL season.

The FAA does not have authority over local building decisions. However, a Clark County ordinance states that the project cannot be approved if the FAA finds any structure — including a stadium — to be an airspace hazard, county spokesman Dan Kulin said.

“We need an FAA determination of ‘no hazard’ in order for this proposal to be approved by the County Commission,” Kulin said.

Although every case is different, it took more than a year to resolve radar interference issues at Los Angeles International Airport that were caused by the height of the Rams’ new stadium in Inglewood. In that case, the Rams agreed to install a secondary aircraft tracking system on the stadium.

Last week, representatives of co-contractors Mortenson Construction and McCarthy Building Cos. said they are working with a 31-month construction schedule set to begin in November with equipment mobilization and grading.

During a meeting with potential subcontractors and suppliers, the contractors said that builders will excavate 26 feet into the ground for the lower bowl of the stadium. Builders will use four cranes at the site as stadium stands and walls go up around the bowl.

Bidding is expected to begin July 3 for structural steel and precast, plumbing, electrical, fire protection, elevators, escalators, heating and air conditioning controls, along with the stadium’s transparent roof made from a lightweight co-polymer resin known as ETFE.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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