Workers to fix automation issues on Atlanta stadium's roof
By CHARLES ODUM
ATLANTA (AP) Workers will begin the final construction phase of Mercedes-Benz Stadium's tricky retractable roof on Tuesday, nine months after the facility opened.
The $1.5 billion stadium will be open in good weather for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United games. Automation problems kept the roof closed for most of the stadium's first year.
Beginning Tuesday, the roof will remain in a locked open position for 10 days, including June 2, when Atlanta United plays the Philadelphia Union.
The management group of Arthur Blank, who owns the Falcons and Atlanta United, says the final commissioning work to complete the automation will last several weeks.
When work is completed, the roof is expected to close or open in as few as 12 minutes.
"The complexity of the design and our heavy events schedule has made it take longer than we had hoped, but great things take time and we're happy to see the finish line," Steve Cannon, CEO of Blank's management group, said in a statement.
The stadium will be host to the 2019 Super Bowl. The NFL prefers for the roof to be open for the Super Bowl, weather permitting.
The roof has been closed for most major events at the new stadium, including the Southeastern Conference championship game, Peach Bowl and College Football Playoff national championship game.
For the Falcons' first season in their new home, the roof was open only for the first home regular-season game against Green Bay.
Falcons CEO Rich McKay said on Jan. 24 the plan was to have more games played with the roof "fully operational."
"Fully operational means you will see us go to much more of an open configuration as we designed at the beginning," McKay said. "When it's ready to go, we'll be open depending on weather."
Ongoing work on the roof delayed the 2017 opening of the stadium by about a month. Atlanta United used Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium as its temporary home for the inaugural season in 2017 before moving to the new stadium.
The stadium will host the men's NCAA Final Four in 2020.
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Updated May 25, 2018