Beneath the Falcons’ Nest
Langan Provides Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering on Mercedes-Benz Stadium
The Atlanta Falcons opened their new home last season before a crowd of 71,000 fans, and this year the stadium will host Super Bowl LIII. Yet long before any teams could take the field, in 2013 Rudy Frizzi, Matt Meyer and Vince Yarina took their first steps on what was a parking lot to assess the site’s subsurface challenges.
As geotechnical and environmental engineer of record for the project, Langan experts were well aware of the innovative “above-ground” features of the NFL’s newest venue, but Frizzi, a Langan Managing Principal, and Meyer and Yarina, both Principals with the firm, wanted to see what they needed to tackle. From an environmental standpoint, the project would encounter the usual issues associated with what was once the rail yard for the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic Railroad. The engineering/design team would also need to consider issues related to the new stadium being so close to the active Georgia Dome. In fact, the new home for the Falcons could have been even closer to their old home but for the proximity of a MARTA tunnel.
In due time the underground obstacles became clear; the earth beneath what was to become Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a bit of a patchwork quilt with varying subsurface conditions requiring different foundation systems. Specifically, the eastern portion of the site has very deep bedrock, which warranted ACIP piles; while the western portion of the site has shallow bedrock where Langan could deploy ground improvement techniques and utilize shallow foundations. The mega-column loads of the unique retractable roof were predominantly supported by drilled piers.
“Langan is extremely proud to have collaborated with the design and construction teams to fulfill the vision of the Atlanta Falcons ownership,” said Frizzi. “It was amazing to watch that first Falcons game last year, knowing what was there when we first walked the site. Congratulations to everyone involved and to the real winners – the citizens of Atlanta.”