Taylor Price - 49ers.com
The new Santa Clara Stadium reached its first significant construction milestone on Monday.
“We’re literally laying the foundation,” said Project Executive Jack Hill as trucks from the Central Concrete Supply Company began to deliver 12-yard loads of fluid grout every 10 to 15 minutes for the first 3,000 piles to be drilled at the stadium project site.
Those piles will ensure a secure foundation for the future home of the San Francisco 49ers.
In order for the piles to be solidified, five high-torque drilling rigs from Berkel and Company Contractors drilled on average about 55 feet below the ground to make more than 3,000 piles that will now be filled over a 25-day period.
“It’s been a great team effort,” said Hill, who commended the hard-working construction workers for getting the project off and running following the team’s April 19th groundbreaking ceremony. “In the last month, we worked 24/7. What a lot of the fans don’t see is there’s 30 miles of pipe underneath the ground. The first 30 days, we spent getting all the utilities in and prepared for this day.”
The start of foundation work also means an increase of local jobs being created in the community. Currently, more than 250 workers are getting their hands dirty on the new stadium site. In addition to drilling piles, workers have been a part of the 30 miles of underground utilities that were previously installed.
“I’m pinching myself,” said Vice Mayor Lisa Gillmor, a member of the Santa ClaraStadium Authority. “To see people working on the site, to see dirt moving and to see concrete being delivered, it’s really a dream come true.”
But it’s just the start of expanded employment around the stadium site.
“This is a bright light for those who will be able to work now and feed their families,” Gillmor continued. “We have hundreds of jobs here now, today. Over the two-year life of the stadium (project) we’re going to have thousands of jobs. After that, the stadium is a catalyst to develop the entire area around here.
“We’re going to see long-term jobs in the future. This is just the beginning.”
For now, the workers have more than 3,000 piles to focus on with 120 being installed each day. If laid end-to-end, the piles would stretch more than 31 miles, almost identical to the direct distance between the new stadium and Candlestick Park.
Besides creating employment opportunities in the area, the latest stage of the stadium project falls in line with the team’s environmentally conscious ethos.
By using an innovative process called Auger Pressure Grouted Displacement (APGD), Tom Albanese of Central Concrete Supply believes the project is well intentioned to fall in line with environmentally friendly construction. The auger, which can drill up to 75 feet into the ground, removes penetrated earth and replaces it with fluid grout which is pumped down the hollow auger system.
“This is a more efficient way and more structurally sound way,” Albanese explained of the concrete being used in the piles. “It’s environmentally friendly. It achieves the early strength they need. It’s a tremendous use of a recyclable product and as a reduction of our cement that’ll go into the atmosphere.”
“It has to be timed just perfectly, where they drill the hole, rebar cage goes in and they have to fill it immediately,” Albanese also said. “Every hole takes roughly four cubic yards per hole.”
The concrete mix achieves fewer CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, something Central Concrete Supply is proud to be associated with. Same goes for the city of Santa Clara.
“Who would have heard of environmentally-friendly concrete?” Gillmor asked. “We are really breaking new ground here, no pun intended, for a project we’re going to be really proud of.
That’s something our residents really care about. All in all, it’s a really big win for everybody.”
From his experience thus far, Hill sees the project being representative of the Santa Clara community.
“A lot of people here are environmentally sensitive and this project will fall right in line with that,” Hill said. “We have a lot of green initiatives which we’ll release later but we spent a lot of time just making sure from a construction standpoint that this is an extremely green stadium.”
Hill said the project will begin to take greater shape in August to the untrained eye.
“We’ve moved over 40,000 cubic yards of dirt and 30 miles of pipe, there’s been so much work that’s been done that people can’t appreciate, because you can’t see it,” he added.
However, with the foundation being installed, Hill knows pretty soon the intrigue around the project will start to increase.
“I get calls every day from people who want to be on the job,” Hill shared. “You can tell there’s a lot of pride in the workers who are on site. Everybody wants to be a part of it; there are a lot of 49ers fans out here and a lot of Bay Area people have been put back to work as a result of this stadium project.”