Posted on: August 15, 2018 5:52 pm
Football season is upon us. Let’s take a look back to an article in the 1997 Winter Issue of the Alban Times about how both Alban and Caterpillar helped kick off construction the Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, home of the Redskins, or more commonly known as FedEx Field.
Jack Kent Cooke Stadium is expected to open for the 1997 National Football League (NFL) season. To describe the construction schedule as “fast track” would be an understatement. The time from initial ground breaking to adding the final touches is 17 months – a tighter time frame has never been attempted in any other stadium project.
The general contractor for the stadium project is Clark Construction, a large corporation with the muscle to meet the deadlines and work around obstacles. Initial site work for the project was awarded to the Driggs Corporation, a Maryland-based organization that relies on know-how, hard work and Caterpillar equipment to meet the needs of its clients.
Despite the stress involved, members of The Driggs Corporation seem to be taking the challenges of the job in stride. With over 40 pieces of Caterpillar equipment moving dirt on the stadium’s site, company leaders feel that hurdles can be overcome the old-fashioned way: one at a time.
More challenges have surfaced since site work began. The most exciting one is the discovery of a prehistoric fossil bed, which halted ground work in one area. The most troubling, however, is the unusual amount of rainfall in Maryland during the summer – rain that postponed site work for days at a time. Rain is a double-edged sword: first, only limited work can be done in storms, and, second, the subsequently drenched earth renders previous estimates concerning soil moisture obsolete. Driggs has responded to these challenges by rolling up its proverbial sleeves and just plain working even harder. Because local ordinances prohibit working extended hours. Driggs added more workers on the job – and sent for more equipment.
“You get a job like this one and add rain – it’s a lethal combination,” said Project Manager Terry Myers. Like his co-workers, he doesn’t take the responsibility of remaining on schedule lightly. “‘We’re the leaders on this project,” he said. “‘We have to do our work first. Everything depends on us to keep the schedule. Cat equipment has been a great help in doing that.”
The amount of Cat equipment Myers oversees is staggering. On any given day, the future home of the Redskins looks a lot like a well-staged Caterpillar demonstration site. Not only are machines employed in traditional earthmoving, grading and leveling applications, but Driggs has also creatively supplemented its fleet with additional rental machines to meet the special needs and challenges of this job
“All of the property will be, for the most part, the same level as the stadium floor – the football field,” said John Brown, sales representative for Cat dealer Alban Tractor. That’s no mean feat, considering that a large portion of the farmland was graced by an enormous hill. Nine 621 scrapers – push-loaded by brand new D8N track-type tractors – were used to level the property in most places. Loading earth in the extremely wet areas was managed by a 330L hydraulics excavator and Cat articulated trucks of all sizes. Meanwhile.12G, 12H and 14H motor graders were used to maintain the ever-busy haul road.
Excerpted from Caterpillar WORLD October 1996, Issue 5.
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