Dallas Cowboy Stadium Geotechnical Engineering

Dallas Cowboy's Stadium in Arlington, near the end of construction

Excavation for Cowboy's StadiumThe stadium opened on May 27, 2009 with a total estimated price tag of over $1.3 billion.  It is the world’s largest domed stadium, and has the world’s largest column-free interior as well.  The huge space and the remarkable retractable roof system is made possible by two massive steel truss arches that span approximately 1,290 feet and reach a height of nearly 300 feet.   Landtec Engineers performed the geotechnical design for the Cowboy’s Stadium, although from my 2008 post on the stadium, ENR indicated that geotechnical legend Clyde Baker was also involved in the design of the foundations for the remarkable arch thrust blocks.  (Photo by Construction Equipment Guide)

Foundation system for the arch thrust blocks of Cowboy's Stadium in ArlingtonThe foundations for the massive thrust blocks for the arches of Cowboy stadium were the subject of one of my posts back in 2008.  The concept at each support was a massive concrete “shoe box”, 176 feet long, 71 feet deep and 18 feet wide.  The walls were made of a 30 inch slurry wall and each box enclosed a total volume of about 3,400 cu-yd of concrete. (Image: ENR)

The field where the action takes place is about 54 feet below grade and about 25 feet below the water table. The “bathtub” was supported by a permanent soil nail wall constructed by Craig Olden, Inc. of Little Elm, Texas who happens to be a subsidiary of Hayward Baker. Massive soil nail wall supporting the excavation for Cowboy's Stadium All in all, there were 8,200 Grade 150 double corrosion protected, epoxy coated DYWIDAG Soil Nails installed at the site!  The nails were about 50-60 feet long.  I’m not sure the exact square footage of soil nail wall, but I’m guessing it is on the order of 175,000 square feet.  The excavation involved the removal of 1.4 million cubic yards of soil! (Photo: DYWIDAG)

Nobody at the game tomorrow will be spending much time thinking about the geotechnical engineering or the special geotechnical construction techniques that went into making that phenomenal stadium.  But for those of us in the profession, or at least for me, it is something that gets me excited if the game (or the commercials) fall short.

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