Sydney Football Stadium construction commences
Construction of the new Sydney Football Stadium is finally underway at Moore Park, months after the old stadium was demolished.
The expected opening date of mid-2022 for the new stadium is believed to be still on track at this stage, meaning it would host the NRL Grand Final that year.
Work was expected to commence by the end of March and bulldozes and workers have been seen on site as construction of the new 45,000-seat stadium gets underway.
This is despite small amounts of asbestos being found at the site just a week before works were set to commence. Infrastructure NSW released a fact sheet on the issue this week after the asbestos was discovered during testing late last year.
However, it said the amount of asbestos, which was found underground, is unlikely to be harmful to workers and will not affect the construction start date set for March 2020. Workers will be provided with appropriate protective equipment as a result of the find alongside control measures.
Allianz Stadium hosted its final game when a record 44,380 fans witnessed the Roosters defeat the Rabbitohs in an NRL Preliminary Final – that was back in September 2018. A Michael Bublé concert on October 5 then brought the curtain down on the 30-year-old stadium.
Since then, it seems there has been nothing but controversy.
After the NSW Government initially announced plans in November 2017 to bulldoze both Allianz Stadium and ANZ Stadium, the final design was revealed in October 2018 but was missing a key feature – the LED curtain to hide the top level of seating and thus reduce capacity for regular-season matches, which angered tenant clubs.
Many people voiced concern at the state government for their planned huge spending on sporting infrastructure and in November, the NSW Labour party then announced they would scrap the stadium funding should they win office in the March elections (they suffered defeat).
After winning approval from the Department of Planning and Environment to begin demolition of Allianz Stadium in December, the NSW government indicated it had immediately signed a contract with Lendlease not just to demolish the existing structure, but also to build the new stadium for $730 million (despite the election still months away).
Demolition works were then halted in February 2019 with the Land and Environment Court stopping the hard-demolition works of the venue, before being dismissed by a judge on March 8, with work given the green light to proceed. Despite a temporary injunction during this time, some work had continued at the site.
The demolition of the stadium reached its final stages in June last year, but then the project was thrown into chaos when Lendlease pulled out of the construction phase of the project, citing budget concerns.
After missing its November deadline, the Government announced in December it had locked in John Holland to build the new stadium, while also revealing costs had blown out by $100 million, despite the design still missing the LED curtain which had saved $46 million from the initial plans.
From that point, it has been relatively silent, but it’s welcoming to see workers on site at Moore Park as construction of the new stadium officially gets underway.
The development will benefit by extended construction hours under new rules introduced by the NSW Government to support the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move allows workers to abide by social distancing rules while keeping construction projects progressing by allowing building work to be spread across more days of the week.
The Sydney Football Stadium Redevelopment will initially extend working hours on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm, to 7am to 6pm, however most works are expected to be completed by 3pm.
Once complete, the stadium will once again be the home of the Sydney Roosters, NSW Waratahs and Sydney FC.