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An Engineer's View Of The Wrigley Field 1060 Project

Here's a different view of the construction going on at Wrigley Field from a construction engineer.

You have probably read, in the various photo posts of the Wrigley Field construction projects, comments from BCB reader Wait till Next Century. He also calls himself "Timmy -- the BCB Consulting Engineer for the 1060 Project." Tim has degrees in engineering and geology and is a licensed professional in the field with over 30 years of experience around the world.

We met outside the Sports Corner at Addison & Sheffield last Sunday, November 30 and did a tour around the ballpark. I found it fascinating to have him explain each part of the project, what was being done, what the equipment does, and many other things that aren't necessarily evident just from walking around the ballpark. He also sent the annotated images that are in the gallery above, and those are really useful in order to understand what's going on at Wrigley.

The rest of this post is his report. I did a bit of editing, but the bulk of it is as he sent it to me. He also sent this mysterious photo of himself, just a shadow against a wall. Enjoy!

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  1. A site visit for the subject project was conducted on November 30, 2014 with Al Yellon to document project status/progress and to explain the various features of the project as shown on the BCB website’s 1060 Project progress photos. Weather was brisk with overcast skies, misty drizzle and temperature at 39 degrees and falling.

  2. After introductions, Al and this author proceeded to walk counterclockwise around the project perimeter starting at the corner of Sheffield and Addison. During the next 45 minutes, this author, using his professional engineering expertise explained various ongoing features of the project, the type and function of equipment being used and materials staged on the site.

  3. After Al departed, this author returned to the 1060 site and made another intentionally slow lap taking a few hundred pictures. Upon reaching the corner of Waveland and Sheffield, seeing Murphy’s was open and the temperatures falling, for safety reasons this author went inside to prevent cold weather exposure. This author had made several other neighborhood stops during the site visit as shown in photo 1.

  4. ****DISCLAIMER**** I am not affiliated with the Cubs or any of the Contractors. I have not seen the construction plans, specifications or foundation case loadings. Nor is the report affiliated with my day job or the firm that I work for, for the last 30 years as a registered professional engineering geologist/engineer. All information presented here are my professional observations from publicly available sources, BCB progress photos and the site visit. So don’t blame me if I am wrong.

  5. About this report: It took some time to annotate the pictures with text blocks, arrows, picture insertions, lines and throw in some schematics using the 1060 renderings in the best attempt to explain all those "marshmallows," drills, pipes, and stuff in simple terms and put them into special context for you loyal BCB sidewalk superintendents. Again, don’t blame me if I have a pointing arrow leading to the warning track showing where piles will be installed.

  6. Al and I agreed, there is a heck of a lot going on than the bleacher expansion, such as shown in photo 1:
    -- Under the grandstands, micro piles are being installed to underpin the vertical support columns and transfer the additional load of new amenities to a solid foundation material. This is required due to the adding new luxury suites in the outer left and right fields, expanding the existing suites (with a new entrance hall, turning the old hall into suite space), adding upper deck outside decks along left and right field, adding more bathrooms, adding a new press area, elevators, etc. Holy Cow, Dave Kingman, more loading on the foundations. You get the idea.
    -- At three locations, structural steel prep work is being performed in advance of replacing the wood roof with a new steel roof, and the feature in the above sub-bullet. This consists primarily of sandblasting, installation of new steel connectors, and application of corrosion prevention coatings, as required. This work will be on-going work for the next two or so years. Say what? Wait Till Next Year? You fans should be used to waiting.
    -- The Composite Secant Pile Wall (CSP, SP, SPW, CSPW, sorry, BCB readers, if I use the terms interchangeably) in the triangle lot, from what I can tell, the work is confined only to the new office building and not the underground clubhouse. This work will be on going for at least another year, but can continue during summers. Expect to see a couple of big holes and a lot of haul trucks.
    -- Sheffield Utilities: Is the new water main installed? I spent some time looking at the spray painted color coded utility markers to decipher the code and reconcile it with on the ground construction. I can say yes and no.

  7. Hey You Viewers At Home: Let’s talk about those "marshmallow" thingies and the big "H" Beams staged on site and Secant Pile Walls. They are for the composite secant pile wall to build the basement for the Triangle Building. Take some time to study photo 2 (really take some time; it took me some time to make that!). I overlaid some renderings to give you a point of perspective of what the heck is going on. I did a best fit on the clubhouse, but due to the slightly non-scaled, isometric perspective of the rendering from, it does not exactly fit (so don’t blame me). I lined up a clubhouse cropped rendering with the where the new tunnel will daylight into the dugout, just to give you BCB 1060 followers a point of perspective. The curved CSPW as shown fits the Triangle Building second floor terrace to the old clubhouse batting tee. No foundation work was seen for the new underground clubhouse. That area was staged with equipment and supplies. Anthony Rizzo, you will have to wait another year for an new locker.

  8. While Lou Boudreau does a commercial for Ray’s Pontiac, let's look at photo 3 to study in detail how those "H" Piles will fit into those secant piles. As you can see they fit like Manny Trillo’s glove. (DISCLAIMER: the installed H-Beams as shown are not from 1060, they only serve as an example, also, I always liked Manny.) But those 60-foot steel beams with CSPW seem deep for an office building. So why so deep, Engineer Timmy? I can only make an engineering judgment; there will be extra bonus areas under the building. Having read some about this, it will be concession storage, parking, mechanical and electrical equipment and new "Bunker Suites." But then again, BCB followers, use your Romper-Stomper Magic Mirror to see below ground.

  9. Holy Cow, Slamming Sammy just put one over the left field wall! Let’s look at the left field foundation work in photos 4, 5 and 6. Photo four shows the drills and the not exact sequence of Drilled Shaft Piles that is being done on the left field bleachers and is starting in the right field bleachers. This work is cold-weather independent. From my 30 years experience the only things drillers look for is lightning and Happy Hour. Photo 4 shows the sequence of pile installation. Any one of these holes can take several days just to drill and not alone to install the rebar cage and place the concrete. That is why, as shown as an insert in Photo 5, the sacrificial corrugated pipe is highlighted. You've got to move those drills and temporary casings to the next pile hole location. Photo 5 insert also shows the tooling crossed reference to the drill sequence in photo 4. Photo 6 demonstrates how these drilled piles will be used under the bleachers. Think a heck of lot more than shown. One more thing for your attention, look back at photo 5, you fans at home will note there are two different diameter rebar cages being fabricated on site. I think the biggies are for the Jumbotron based upon stuff that would take too long to explain.

  10. Engineer Timmy, what’s up with those micro piles you talked about? Turn your attention to photos 7 thru 11.
    -- Photo 7 shows the Micro Pile installation from Gate the inserted photo locations of the micro pile operations. In addition a photo 7 inserted rendering shows how the Micro Piles are assumed to support the grandstand improvements and to hold up Jack Brickhouse’s ghost.
    -- BCB sidewalk engineers, let’s turn it over to Keith Moreland to look at a close up play of those Micro Piles (MPs) in photo 8. Keith? Oh I forgot, Keith, you’re not here anymore, but you BCB 1060 Project followers are still here. Photos 8 and 9 show how tricky this sneaky Greg Maddux lower outside corner pitch is to execute. Once the MPs are installed at the corners of the existing columns and the needle is attached, it will be circumcised from its original pile and the column load is transferred onto on the new piles. But in order to redistribute the grandstand weight to other columns, temporary support shore has to be installed as seen in Slide 9, or else it’s another Edwin Jackson crash. Photo 9 shows the temporary grandstand shoring.
    -- Photo 10 shows the materials and equipment to make a Bruce Sutter save to insure the grandstand wins. It’s a lot of equipment.
    -- What are those white beams stack that BCB followers are asking about? What it is, in Slide 11 is just like the caption says… is a dynamic pile load test. What the heck, Engineer Timmy? Well Ronnie, it’s like when a catcher calls to the first base umpire to see if it was strike or a check swing. On foundation projects, test piles will be installed and tested to 150% of the design strength (depending on the application and specifications) to check the designer and contractor’s install procedures. But Ronnie, you can’t take that test apparatus under the stands, so when no umps are looking to call it, it’s a ball.
    -- What are those round things in photo 12? Are there more Wrigley Field sovereigns? As you can see Micro Pile operations are going on at Gate F and beyond in the concourse. The low headroom drill rigs are air powered, hence the air compressors. Something about fumes in an enclosed area. The concrete cylinders in the foreground are cores thru the floor to get through the foundation to install the MPs. Generally they are thrown out; maybe a few are tested to determine the in-situ concrete strength. But at $150 per 18" piece of bleacher, why not slice them up and sell for $25 apiece as paper weights?

  11. Sand Blasting? And I'm not talking about Ryno blasting second base! Photo 13 shows a heck of a lot of metal prep going on at multiple locations. Why is that, Engineer Timmy? Well, remember the all the stuff mentioned in paragraph 6? It takes a heck of a lot of work to get that old superstructure ready to accept new support beams and a long lead time. One photo insert shows the scaffolding reaching up to under the upper deck roof, others shows bare beams, some show heating units and ducting and the equipment required. The heating units are not for the worker’s comfort, but to apply corrosion prevention coatings at the right ambient temperature on the metal. Have you ever tried to use spray paint when it is near freezing? Same thing here.

  12. We've reached bucket No. 6! Is it a Schwinn Fastback or a bag of Silver Dollars in Bucket No. 6? A few Bonus Observations from the 1060 Project site visit:
    -- Photo 14: Do not follow the exit sign! You will die if a Waveland/Sheffield ballhawk does not catch you.
    -- Photo 15 shows what 75 years of piss, vomit, beer and tears can do to a structural steel connection.

Let’s Build Two! -– Thanks, Ernie.
Timmy -– BCB Consulting Engineer for the 1060 Project