Workers begin installing steel for new 49ers stadium


As the very first steel beams go in, the new stadium is taking shape quickly. "This is very exciting. In the life of a project, this is a big deal," said project executive Jack Hill. It's a big deal because now, crews will work around the clock building the steel frame of the stadium piece by piece. There are four cranes, 300 workers, and 18,000 tons of steel. Some of the beams weigh in at 36,000 pounds.

"This is the first, kind of manifestation, of the project really coming to fruition, coming out of the ground," said Michael O'Brien, Sr. VP of Turner/Devon Construction. Before Monday, much of the work done in the pit was to put in underground utilities, foundation elements, and a retaining wall. Crews say that by Labor Day, people will see the full skeleton of what's to come.

Santa Clara's mayor is also encouraged by the project and its impact on the workforce. "We have 36 percent unemployment here in the Valley and now we have all these people working on the site. We've got over 300 people working on the site and we're going to be ramping up to over 1,000 by the end of the year," Mayor Jamie Matthews said. Those workers will likely remain employed for some time as the $1.2 billion stadium comes together.

With more than 68,000 seats and state of the art technology, it will soon be one of the NFL's best. "There's a lot of work still, to remain, but this is getting us off to a great start," Hill said. The 49ers say all the steel being trucked in is American-made. As far as the massive cranes doing the heavy lifting, there are only 30 like them in the entire nation. Four of them are on the 49ers job site in Santa Clara.

The 36 percent unemployment Mayor Matthews mentions refers to the skilled construction trade, where jobs have taken a tough hit over the last few years. The project is definitely helping the economy as far as construction jobs go. The 49ers say the project is on schedule and set to open for fans in 2014.

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