A nest of their own

30 April 2008

Phoenix Arizona and its surrounding communities are the home of the NFL Arizona Cardinals. Dating from 1898, the Cardinals are the oldest continuously–run professional football team in the US and have had the Cardinals name since 1901. They were based in Chicago until 1960, when they moved to St Louis, and then to Phoenix in 1988.

Since moving to Arizona the Cardinals have played at the Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. In November 2000 Maricopa County approved funding for the construction of a new football stadium. In August 2002 a site was selected in the city of Glendale, and the stadium design was finalized.

The stadium will have a retractable roof. Precision Heavy Haul (PHH) was selected by the roof fabricator and erector, Schuff Steel Company, to transport all portions of the roof steel from their fabrication plant in Phoenix to the stadium site in Glendale. The area is heavily populated and has numerous overhead obstructions. The 17 foot 7 inch height of the 28 box truss, top chord sections made this obstruction problem very significant. It was soon realized that a reduction in loaded height of 2 feet and pre–lifting all overhead wires would result in saving both travel time and thousands of dollars over the 28 loads.

The sections were very strong in bending and compression. They were therefore capable of sustaining the forces of Schnabel loading, that is, when the load becomes part of the bridge between end supports. As a Schnabel load, the bottom of the truss could be carried as little as six inches offof the road surface, a substantial reduction from being loaded on any platform. PHH had previously designed and constructed a Schnabel trailer for hauling large diameter pipe. Th is equipment would require substantial modification, but it had adequate capacity and the necessary adjustment features.

The 15–mile haul route from the fabrication shop to the stadium involved crossing several bridges as well as wrong–way travel on city streets to avoid light signals. Due to the consistency of the routing and obstacles, accompanying each load were two Highway Patrol cars–one front escort, equipped with a height pole, and one rear escort. The loaded dimensions of the largest truss section for traveling over the road on the Schnabel equipment was 165 feet long, 20 feet wide, 18 feet 8 inches high, and a gross weight of 344,725 pounds.

Because of congestion in the foundation hole at the stadium and a hauling portion that remained ahead of schedule, several of the trusses had to be staged outside the stadium site. When ready, PHH moved in and manually reattached the section to the trailer.


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