It isn’t easy to spot the nearly 600 construction workers and 100 support staff members spread across the 14-acre construction zone of the 65,000-seat Las Vegas stadium as they work.
But it’s hard to miss what they’ve accomplished on the site just west of Interstate 15 and north of Russell Road.
Laborers are spread over the job site, some in the cabs of massive cranes, some on scaffolding, some piloting monster earth-movers.
But when they’re all brought together under one tent, as they were Thursday, they look like a massive army in neon green and orange vests.
Raiders owner Mark Davis and two of his key lieutenants, team president Marc Badain and StadCo construction subsidiary chief operating officer Don Webb, threw an onsite barbecue for workers, thanking them for staying on time, on budget and, above all, safe.
Davis, wearing a chef’s hat with a Raiders logo, greeted workers as they came to the lunch table, taking pictures with and fist-bumping them as they arrived. He joked that he was becoming a one-day honorary member of the Culinary union for his food-service responsibilities.
“You don’t know how much this means to me,” Davis told workers as they received their barbecued chicken and fixings. “To me, you guys are the MVPs.”
After the lunch, prizes were drawn with some lucky laborers receiving gift cards, toolboxes and televisions.
So far, the $1.8 billion project is going as smoothly as any massive undertaking could go.
By the end of the year, the workforce will expand to about 1,400 workers onsite, and it will stay that way until the project ends in mid-2020.
Construction work is about 15 percent completed with about 250,000 man-hours invested.
General contractors Mortenson Construction, Minneapolis, and McCarthy Building Cos., Henderson, have developed an intricately choreographed 23,000-task schedule to keep the project rolling to ensure all equipment and labor is available to begin and complete work in the most efficient sequencing possible.
Most of the early work on the project has been excavating dirt and pouring concrete foundations. The inner stadium bowl walls are going up on the north end of the building, and rebar-reinforced concrete columns to support steel girders and elevator shafts are being poured.
Webb said the stadium periphery will be developed clockwise and counterclockwise from the north to the south end where work has begun on a track for the field tray that will slide in and out of the stadium on game days.
The first steel girders will be delivered to the site from a Wisconsin mill next month, and stadium watchers should see some vertical progress on the project by the end of July.
Webb said most of the steel components involved in the stadium project were ordered prior to President Trump’s announcement of foreign steel and aluminum tariffs and shouldn’t affect construction.
The two largest construction cranes — each capable of lifting 2,000 tons — haven’t arrived on the site yet. They’ll be used for one of the most challenging aspects of the project, lifting the translucent plastic polymer roof into place.
Webb said the roof would be assembled on the ground, supported with a crosshatch pattern of steel cables, before being lifted to the top of the stadium.
The translucent roof and the curtained opening on the north end will provide comfort and natural light during daytime events at the stadium when play begins for the 2020 NFL season.