You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof ‘quite the challenge’

Leaders of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium construction team delivered an update on the project to a state board Tuesday, stressing the complexity of the steel structure for the roof of the Falcons’ new home.

“It has been quite the challenge, and it has certainly taken the (steel) fabricators longer than they would have liked,” Wayne Wadsworth, principal in charge of the Holder Hunt Russell Moody joint venture, the stadium’s general contractor, told the Georgia World Congress Center Authority board.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank cited the complexity of the roof structure when he disclosed in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that the target date for opening the stadium has been pushed back three months to June 1, 2017.

Barring further delays, that won’t prevent the Falcons from opening the 2017 season in the stadium, but it will force Blank’s new professional soccer team, Atlanta United, to play on the road for at least the first three months of its inaugural MLS season.

In the presentation to the GWCCA board Tuesday, Wadsworth said all 18,000 “shop drawings” for the fixed portion of the stadium roof will have been processed and approved by the end of this month, calling that “a very major milestone.”

“(It’s) a huge sigh of relief to have that in our rearview mirror,” he said. “We’re now focused on the operable (roof) panels and on the video halo structural steel.”

The $1.4 billion stadium is under construction next to the Georgia Dome. Two of the signature features of the new stadium are the retractable roof, which is supposed to open and close in seven minutes, and the 58-foot-high oval video board, which will be built into the roof opening and will surround the field.

GWCCA board member David Allman asked Wadsworth and Bill Darden, the Falcons’ stadium project executive, the target date “for pushing that button” to see the retractable roof in action for the first time.

“It’ll probably be late first quarter of 2017,” Wadsworth replied. “It’ll be moving around before that in pieces as we get it constructed, but that will be under contractors’ control as opposed to the magic button.”

Wadsworth and Darden also updated the board on plans for demolishing the Georgia Dome after the new stadium opens.

A contract to demolish the Dome likely will be awarded by August, they said. Pre-qualification of prospective bidders is scheduled to be completed in March, followed by a bid process.

Wadsworth and Darden said the Dome likely will be demolished by a combination of implosion and mechanical means (such as wrecking ball).

“There are some firms that want to implode more of the existing structure than others,” Wadsworth said. “The team that we select will be part of the design and the engineering of the right way to take it down.”

Darden told the AJC in an interview last month that the demolition process likely would be completed late in 2017 or early in 2018.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Atlanta Falcons

Several Georgia grown players ready for NFL draft
Several Georgia grown players ready for NFL draft

About a month ago, general manager Thomas Dimitroff asked Steve Szabo, the team’s director of college scouting, to come into his office and mark up the entire draft board. “We asked him about all of the guys who were Georgia natives,” Dimitroff said. “It was pretty neat to see how much talent was on that board from this state...
Top 10 safeties in the 2017 NFL draft
Top 10 safeties in the 2017 NFL draft

Here are the top 10 safety prospects (with projected draft round) for the 2017 NFL draft, which is set for April 27-29 in Philadelphia: Malik Hooker, 6-foot, 1-inch and 206 pounds, Ohio State (first): With Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell gone to the NFL, Hooker became a starting safety last season and emerged as an All-American...
Falcons are not looking for ‘angelic’ souls
Falcons are not looking for ‘angelic’ souls

The Falcons are in the final stages of rating and stacking players on their board for the NFL draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia. Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who has been involved domestic violence case, is not on the team’s draft board, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution learned. This was no random decision...
Top 10 cornerbacks in the 2017 NFL draft
Top 10 cornerbacks in the 2017 NFL draft

Here are the top 10 cornerback prospects (with projected draft round) for the NFL draft, which is set for Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia: Marshon Lattimore, 6-foot, 193 pounds, Ohio State (first):He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at the scouting combine. He played in 20 games with 13 starts for the...
Falcons receiver Gabriel signs $2.8 million contract
Falcons receiver Gabriel signs $2.8 million contract

Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel signed his second-round tender worth $2.81 million Saturday. Gabriel, after he was cut by the Cleveland Browns, emerged as the Falcons’ No. 3 wide receiver last season while making $510,000. He added a spark to the offense with his speed and toughness. As the third receiver behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu...
More Stories