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Thomas A Robinson National Stadium to be completed this year

Construction of $30-million, state-of-the-art sports stadium in Nassau is on schedule, as Chinese workforce overcomes obstacles 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The new, state-of-the-art, $30-million Thomas A Robinson National Stadium is nearing the final phase of construction, according to project manager and former Bahamas National team sprinter Iram Lewis.

“Considering the official groundbreaking ceremony only took place in July 2009, it is incredible how far we have come in such a short space of time,” he says.

The stadium, which is a gift from the government of the People’s Republic of China, has an initial Phase One seating capacity of 15,000, with a later phase extension that would take total capacity to 23,000.

The construction is being carried out by 186 Chinese workers, who have had to overcome numerous challenges to remain on schedule. During the initial stages of the stadium’s erection, for example, it was discovered that areas of the site were unstable, meaning that the arena’s construction pilings, 619 in all, had to be sunk to a depth of 42 ft to hit solid rock.

On another occasion, specialist equipment had to be brought in from the US. “The stadium’s towers were assembled on the ground,” says Lewis, “only to find that there was not a crane big enough in The Bahamas to hoist them into an upright position.”

But such a potentially calamitous discovery only put construction back by a matter of days, with the last concrete pillar of the western grand stand being put in place during the summer last year.

“There is a lot we can learn from the Chinese workers,” continues Lewis. “They are extremely focused and resourceful. They are flexible in the way they use materials, such as the use of bamboo plywood, which can be shaped easily for moulding, and ironwork, which was used for forming and scaffolding.”

The stadium is scheduled to be completed by June 30, and Lewis anticipates that the country’s Independence Day celebrations will be held there on July 10.

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