Mercedes Benz Stadium roof closes for first time - CBS46 News

Mercedes Benz Stadium roof closes for first time

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

The excitement is building for sports fans like Mary Brown and Jeanette Washington. They made a special trip to Mercedes Benz Stadium on Monday to see the new retractable roof.

“It is huge, I love it, I love the edgy look,” Washington said.

“I had not planned on seeing anything of this size,” Mary Brown said.

Both ladies were in awe of the structure and amazed that engineers managed to close the one-of-a-kind retractable roof without a hitch for the first time over the weekend.

Stadium executive Mike Egan is referring to the eight roof petals, which are about 75 yards long each and weigh 500 tons a piece. He gave CBS46 a sneak peek of the construction inside the stadium and spoke with us over the phone.

“I think having a roof come together in eight pieces is, to my knowledge, unprecedented,” Egan said.

Egan said workers allowed for five days to close the roof initially to take measurements, but got it done in 48 hours.

“The next step, and really the completion of the roof, is to put, we call them ‘pillows,’ and it will be ETFE, which is the same light-weight plastic building material that people see now on the side of the building, that will be used to shroud the petals,” Egan said.

In late July, officials expect to be able to open and close the roof with the touch of a single button.   

“We expect the normal pace we use to open and close the roof to be about a 12 min process,” Egan said.

It’s still uncertain whether this state-of-the-art roof will be fail safe when the stadium hosts the Atlanta Falcons first preseason football game on August 26.

“I think the test will come when the rain hits, that will be the real test,” Brown said.

Stadium executives also pointed out that the interior of the stadium is waterproof, including the seats and electronics. That way, they can leave the roof open even during a brief rain shower.

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