Allen Lew, chief executive officer of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) said yesterday that construction of the new Washington Nationals facility on the banks of the Anacostia River is, "on time, on budget and we expect to have the ballpark open by April of 2008."
To get it done, however, workers have toiled from 7am to dusk seven days a week. The reason for the extra effort is that the DC Council and MLB went back and forth over terms of a lease and construction agreement.
As reported by Tim Lemke of the Washington Times:
The construction team has excavated more than 300,000 cubic yards of dirt at a rate of more than 5,000 cubic yards a day. It also has installed more than 55,000 cubic yards of concrete, and visitors to the site can see the infield stands starting to take shape. Nearly 2,400 pilings have been put in place, and nine cranes are being used to help erect the steel.
Construction officials said they were able to move quickly in part because the sports commission agreed on a "design-build" plan that allows construction to begin even while architectural plans are being completed. Furthermore, the sports commission also saved time by ordering the steel for the stadium early this year, long before construction was permitted to begin, and by ordering excavations and the relocation of utilities nearly a year ago.
As for keeping on budget, Lew reported that $7 million more than expected was spent on environmental cleanup at the site.
Construction officials yesterday also said the city's debate over the proposed parking structures should have no affect on the ability of the Nationals to play in the ballpark in Opening Day of 2008. (The Washington Times)