SEATTLE – Underneath a 44-million-pound roof that’s suspended above the ground, approximately 220 workers continue to excavate the 600,000 cubic yards that will soon be an arena.
"I think it's safe to say this is really unique,” NHL Seattle construction executive Ken Johnson said. “This is a one of a kind of this size of a roof, this weight of a roof being held in place while you're building this big of a building underneath it."
Johnson says the excavation will be completed by the end of February. In the meantime, the team has begun drilling the permanent foundation. As that progresses, the historic roof will be reattached in pieces.
"There is just a certain amount of awe you have when you go the engineers pulled it off,” he said. “They figured out how to hold that up while we dig underneath it."
In the coming months, the construction site will start to take shape.
"Eventually we’ll be to the point where the steel is up, the concrete is up and then well put the glass back up that we took out,” Johnson explained. “So, then we’ll have an arena that's complete, but kind of like it was last spring, with no seats in it, no concessions, no finishes. By the end of this year, we will have it in that state and then in 2021 it'll be all about finishing it out."
Now interestingly enough, you'd think that with a 44-million-pound roof suspended you'd be worried about movement, but the construction company says the roof is monitored with lasers 100% of the time so the team knows if there is any movement.