ATLANTA -- The retractable roof on Mercedes-Benz Stadium will not be ready to use for the stadium's first event.
A spokesperson for the AMB Group confirmed to 11Alive that stadium officials informed the GWCCA board on Tuesday that the roof will be closed for the stadium's first public event, an Atlanta Falcons preseason game, because of continuing work to fully automate it.
“Mercedes-Benz Stadium will open as planned on August 26 and the building will be magnificent. As we informed the GWCCA board today, the roof will be in closed position for our opening events while some remaining work to fully automate the retractable portion of the roof is completed. That work will be done on non-event days and we expect to play select Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United events in the open position later this fall,” an AMB Group spokesperson said.
The roof will remain closed for an unknown period of time, but it is expected to be fully functioning later in the Atlanta Falcons' or Atlanta United FC's season. The stadium is home to both teams.
Construction crews are already working on closing the roof. It will be done manually, not automated. It will take between 24-48 hours to close it as crews will check progress on alignment and other parts of the structure. It is not known right now what the cause of the current delay is, but the spokesperson said the roof is going through its standard process. The roof has opened during the construction process.
Delays with the roof have continued to plague progress of the new stadium opening adjacent to the Georgia Dome, which will be demolished in November.
The stadium was originally scheduled to open in March, but normal surveying and analysis of the roof structure, as well as steelwork in the roof, both took longer than planned. The roof includes eight moving panels and made up of 27,000 tons of steel.
Back in April, Falcons owner Arthur Blank told 11Alive he was a little disappointed by delays in the stadium.
"But you have to look at these things in the grand scheme of the stadium. The complexity of it, the details of it, everything it takes to complete it and complete it properly, make sure that it's represents the very best of everything we had planned on," he said. "You don't want to open up something sooner than you should and have a lot of disappointments rather than open it up a month, two months, three months later and make sure everything's operating the way it exactly it should operate."
Unfortunately, that is what appears will happen.
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