The 2002 Olympic Winter Games will be held this month in Salt Lake City, and the Olympic spirit will be evident nationwide as many use the Games for hope and encouragement during troubled times. But those who view the Olympics, whether at home or in person, may not give much thought to the preparation and hard work it took to make it happen.
Salt Lake City officials and several construction companies began planning and building venues years before they knew their city would be hosting the games. Since the Games were awarded to Salt Lake in 1995, countless products have been delivered, and additional venues and housing have been built. Truckers have shown their Olympic spirit by doing their jobs, delivering machinery and materials with their trucks.
Hauling for an Olympic Stadium
Jason Bryan has driven for CWX of Salt Lake City for six years. Bryan delivered the first pallet of Olympic pins to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. “That was pretty sweet,” he says.
CWX uses 24-foot trailers to maneuver around downtown Salt Lake City. Bryan has delivered guardrails, housing items, indoor lighting fixtures, cable, warehouse products and wire. The guardrails weighed 8,000 pounds, and their pallets were 10 feet long and 4 feet tall. Bryan began making the deliveries four years ago, and is anxious to see the Olympic Games unfold.
“It’s exciting,” he says. “If these products weren’t delivered, then they wouldn’t be able to build the venues for the Olympics.”
Layton Construction in Salt Lake City rebuilt Rice-Eccles Stadium, which will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies, and also built the speed skating oval.
The original Rice-Eccles Stadium was built in 1926 and used by the University of Utah to host its football games. Layton was hired by the university to rebuild the stadium, and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee will pay the university to use the stadium for 14 days.
The old stadium was completely demolished within 45 days, and it took nine months to rebuild it. The project began after the last football game in November 1997 and was finished in September 1998.
“The old stadium basically came down,” says Alan Rindlisbacher, Layton’s director of corporate marketing. “The new press box is at the same height as the old lights were. We had nine months to demolish and rebuild a stadium. With a major project like that you’re always going to have some challenges that creep up on you and give you fits.”
The brick towers on the front of the stadium are covered in red sandstone derived from stone quarries in India. “Utah sandstone is more porous,” he says. “It’s less hard than this Indian sandstone.”
Scanada International supplied Layton jacking equipment, related hardware and designs to slipform three separate concrete stair/elevator towers for the new Rice-Eccles Stadium. The slip forms were delivered from the company’s Iowa warehouse by truck, and the one for the northeast tower weighed 4,000 pounds. The slip forms for the north and south towers weighed 48,000 pounds. The towers are 180 feet high.
According to Bryan Keith, Layton’s manager of project buying and equipment, the slip forms rose a foot an hour, and it took seven days of non-stop work to complete the towers on time. The crew stood on top of the work platform as the slip form rose and concrete formed inside.
“It was a lot like feeding something that continues to grow,” Keith says. “It was something we had to figure out on our own. It was almost like a puzzle. You could easily find yourself trapped up there. We couldn’t have made them on time if truckers hadn’t hauled the slip forms in on time.”
There were 24 94-foot masts hauled in by trucks that hold up the roof to the speed skating oval.
At a safe speed
It took The Layton Companies of Sandy, Utah, two and a half years to complete the speed skating oval for the Olympic Games. The work began in 1998, and the state invested $30 million to build the steel and glass structure.
Sand, Styrofoam, plastic, steel, rebar, chairs and concrete were hauled in to build the facility. There are underground locker rooms and walkways, and two hockey rinks in the middle of the oval. The facility was built around an existing outdoor oval.
The new roof system is supported with masts and cable. Transporting the masts was a tedious job. They were hauled in pairs and there were 12 sets for a total of 24 masts. Each is held in the ground by piles that go 80 feet into the ground and are anchored on bedrock. There were 15 to 20 tons of steel per load, and truckers had to haul the heavy masts during winter weather conditions.
Herb McDaniel of San Angelo, Texas, is a driver for Hirschfeld Steel Company. He and another trucker hauled the last two 94-foot masts from a company plant in Abilene, Texas, to the jobsite.
“I was excited to see the jobsite,” he says. “I like the Winter Olympics the best, and when I saw how big the structure was I thought it was amazing.”
It took two days to transport the masts, and the two drivers could not go faster than 55 mph. The masts hung over the back of the stretch trailer but were not long enough to require an escort, according to state law. The men drove through the panhandle of Texas and north New Mexico, and across the mountains of Colorado.
They had to shut down 30 minutes before sunset and could start back on the road 30 minutes after sunrise. The truckers caught a lucky break when they hit Denver because it was the weekend and the curfews weren’t in place. But when they were on I-70, east of Aspen, the traffic stopped completely for a few hours due to a hostage situation on the interstate.
“Most drivers in our company haul permit loads and are used to inconvenience because we haul it [oversized loads] daily,” he says. “There were no real problems. The hostage situation was handled by the authorities and we traveled on.”
Truckers never know what they’ll run into as they deliver their loads, and it’s up to them to find a way to manage whatever problems arise and deliver their loads on time. Rindlisbacher says truckers are vital to his company’s success, and that Salt Lake City depends heavily on trucks.
“Specialty steel products not manufactured here come in and we depend on the driver being on schedule,” he says. “Secondly, there were no negative comments from the sites about truckers delivering late to the sites.”
Jumping to victory
The Utah Olympic Park was built in part by Jacobsen Construction of Salt Lake City and includes two ski jumps. The ski jump project began July 1998 and was completed November 2000. Jacobsen demolished existing ski jumps and excavated and reshaped the mountainside before creating two new jumps, the K-90 and K-120.
Brent Smith is manager of business development for Clyde Companies in Springville, Utah. His company hauled in 15 to 20 pieces of heavy equipment for excavation at the ski jump site. Company trucks used lowboys to haul in excavators, backhoes, loaders and bulldozers.
It took 45 days to completely demolish the old stadium and nine months to rebuild it. The last game played at the old stadium was in November 1997, the new stadium (above) was finished in September 1998.
The winter weather presented a challenge for Smith’s drivers, especially on the snow-covered mountaintop. “We worked around the weather,” he says. “We slowed down in the winter but kept working. We used our heavy equipment to operate in the snow.”
In addition, Clyde constructed the Soldier Hollow cross-country skiing venue and ran water lines to operate the snowmaking equipment at the Snow Basin downhill skiing venue. The equipment hauled in was essential to the project’s completion.
“The park project was exciting because the ski jump event is popular and an essential part of the Olympics,” Smith says. “It was a great project and we’re proud of it.”
Brian Douglas of Spanish Fort, Utah, hauled heavy equipment into the park area. He took the equipment in one piece at a time and says some of the larger dozers were more than 15 feet wide.
“It’s wide and heavy, and the largest dozer weighs 220,000 pounds,” Douglas says. “It’s tedious and stressful because the traffic is terrible and motorists try to crowd me. I’m always oversized and over-wide.”
Jack Wixom, Jacobsen’s vice president of business development, says his company also built a museum in addition to the competitive jumps and ski lifts.
Waxing trailers were hauled in and placed at the top of the jumps; two teams will be assigned to each trailer to wax skis between jumps. White plastic was hauled in to make grooves for skiers to stand in while waiting to jump. During warmer months when there is no snow, the plastic is wet so skiers can practice jumping.
“When they take off they’re sailing through the air,” Wixom says.
Weather and the mountain slopes made it difficult to haul products in and to construct the jumps, but Wixom says the truckers made his job easier.
“We never had to wait on a delivery,” he says. “They’re part of this too. This event will probably be seen by more viewers than any other during the Olympics.”
Rest and relaxation
The Olympic athletes will use student housing at Fort Douglas during the Games. Three construction companies were given the bid to renovate assigned areas. It took Bud Bailey Construction of Salt Lake City 18 months to complete renovations on 11 buildings. Steel, lumber, brick and block were hauled in to complete the project that covered 536,000 square feet.
Truckers hauled in 22 boilers, 11 chillers and 700 coils for the heating and air conditioning systems. Those who weren’t used to delivering in Salt Lake City had a few problems finding delivery locations.
“Directions made it difficult because of our street numbering system,” says Mike Dustin, Bud Bailey’s senior superintendent. “There were also problems due to construction on our highways because the exits changed frequently on I-15. We gave truckers maps, but they constantly called to find our warehouses or jobsite. They never missed delivering the product or having it there when it was needed. They were essential to us completing our project on time.”
Fort Douglas was the first outpost in the West that Abraham Lincoln started to secure the region. During excavation workers found old shoes, shell casings, dishes and horseshoe nails. Athletes, trainers and security will be housed at the new student housing.
In light of the recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., there was great foresight shown in having the FBI involved in planning the housing areas.
“The FBI insisted on seeing the plans to lay out the buildings to see how secure they were because of possible terrorist threats,” Dustin says. “We had as much material as possible shipped early and stored until it was needed. It was an interesting project but just another job.”