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The Raiders Stadium: Lots of progress, with not a minute to spare

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Mark your calendar: If all goes as scheduled, the new Raiders and UNLV Rebels stadium should see substantial completion on July 31, 2020, just two years from next Tuesday.

The date comes from what’s called a “Milestone Calendar,” which was released at last week’s stadium authority meeting.

A trip to the stadium site, even on a day when triple digits are descending on the valley, shows a workplace literally buzzing with activity: Cranes are lifting, trucks are driving, men and women are working.

We got there approaching lunch time, and one of the food trucks was busy. Workers stood at the construction site behind a fence, handing over money and getting food delivered to them in return.

“I’m a union ironworker working on the rebar right now,” says Alex Leon, waiting for his snack.

“Everybody’s been working real hard to get it done. We’ve been working as a team and it’s coming right along,” he told me, adding, “it’s going up really quick.”

It has to.

As stadiums go, opening day is around the corner. To meet the 2020 deadline, they're designing while they're building, which is not uncommon in a stadium project of this scale.

From the groundbreaking last November to this moment in July, it’s already been a parade of progress: Excavation started in January, foundations started in March, the concrete structure started getting built.

The pace outlined last Thursday is equally impressive: interior work begins in October; precast sections of the stadium begin to get put in place next December; the steel gets topped out May 2, 2019, with the first seat being installed the next day; the video board gets installed October 2019; the building’s enclosure gets finished December of 2019; the last seat gets put in place May 4, 2020; the certificate of occupancy is delivered on July 1, 2020, with substantial completion 30 days later.

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Right now there are about 500 workers at the site.

“It's going great. Man, they’re taking good care of us. We're staying real safe. We're getting the job done. Ironworkers are here all the time. 416 Local. Support 'em,” says ironworker Galen Fisher.

This is an extremely busy and complicated work site. Last week we saw the first reported work site injury, which OSHA confirms it is investigating.

The builder, Mortenson McCarthy, says safety is a priority, and every worker we talked with says safety here is job No. 1.

The stadium will transform a city and boost more than a few businesses. Down the street, the Tailgater Tavern gets a boost from the workers who stop in after their shift. News 3 asked the Tavern’s Paola Lechuga if the guys are good customers. She smiled.

“Awesome customers. Yes. They are part of the family now. Tailgater family,” Lechuga says.

They'll all be back to work tomorrow, with no time to waste: July 31, 2020 is around the corner.

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