Structural steel work taking shape at Buffalo Bills’ stadium

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Large-scale structural steel work is going up on the Buffalo Bills’ new  stadium in Orchard Park.

Joint venture Gilbane-Turner is managing construction on the new 60,000-seat facility, designed by the Bills in conjunction with Legends and the architectural firm Populous.

“Collectively, more than 800 people have worked 138,000 hours to achieve this important project milestone,” said Joe Byrne, program director for Gilbane-Turner. “Their neighbors and friends in the community will now visibly be able to see the stadium take shape over the course of the next two years.

“We all look forward to celebrating further project milestones, opening day, and attending exciting games and events for decades to come in this world-class stadium.

Excavation work lasted seven months after the project broke ground in June 2023. It was a monumental job, with trucks removing more than 500,000 cubic yards of stone and dirt; and laborers built a sheet piling wall and poured over 18,000 cubic yards of concrete to create the foundation.

Those driving by the Orchard Park construction site will now begin to see the building take shape above ground, with the installation of approximately 25,000 tons of steel, enough to build approximately three Eiffel Towers. Several massive cranes will be used to build the steel superstructure. Steel will be erected in tiers over the next 12-14 months.

A worker appreciation event was held to mark the start of steel construction and included the signing of a 20-foot steel beam by Governor Hochul and hundreds of workers who safely completed the first phase of construction. The beam will be utilized within the stadium structure.

Once the steel framework is in place for the new 1.35-million-square-foot stadium, the building will be clad, mechanical, plumbing and electrical will be installed, and each of the sections of the stadium will be built out. The number of workers on the job will grow to more than 1,500 daily from the 300 people today as the work progresses. Throughout the project a priority is placed on the employment of local workers and businesses. At this stage of the project more than 95 percent of the laborers on the project are local.

“We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and collaboration of our trade partners who are making the new home for the Buffalo Bills a reality,” said John LaRow, principal-in-charge, Gilbane-Turner. “The start of steel is a significant milestone and we look forward to seeing this magnificent stadium take shape. We will continue to work closely with the Bills, Legends, Populous, and our partners in government to deliver a stadium that all Bills fans can be proud of.”

The stadium is one of the largest economic development project in Western New York history with an estimated annual economic impact of $385 million and the creation of 10,000 union construction jobs, in accordance with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) agreed to by the Buffalo Building Trades Council.

The new, open-air stadium is being built across from the existing Highmark Stadium, which was built in 1973, and includes several major improvements over the existing stadium facility. It will add weather mitigation features, including extensive radiant heating and a canopy that covers 65 percent of seats, to provide protection from inclement weather.

“The stadium is a big win for the region and especially for the hardworking men and women of the Buffalo Building Trades Council who are honored to be part of the team making this exciting project a reality,” said Buffalo Building Trades Council President Paul Brown. “Our union families will proudly tell their children and grandchildren that their skilled labor not only helped build a state-of-the-art stadium, but also helped build a stronger economy for the region.”

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