Innovative Booms Pay Off For Concrete Contractor

Staff | September 28, 2010

In an economy that is searching for bright spots, just look east to Ruttura and Sons, concrete contractors located on Long Island, NY. Their reputation, experience and extensive concrete pumping fleet are keeping them busy on larger commercial projects these days. They are also the concrete contractors on the new $800-million Citi Field, which will replace Shea Stadium when the New York Mets begin their 2009 season.

“The majority of the placements were in the 350- to 400-yard range to build the structural slab,” according to Tom Ruttura, principal of the firm and former ASCC president, “but then there have been 7,000 steps which are cast concrete, and some of them under roof.”

Citi Field's baseball-specific design produces superior sightlines for the game throughout the venue. There is a more intimate atmosphere with seating angled toward the infield and set down closer to the field. Forty-two percent of the ballpark's seats will be located in the Concourse (or lowest) seating level. The new stadium, designed to look like the Brooklyn Dodgers' old Ebbets Field, will have a planned capacity of 45,000 spectators within the 1.26-million-square-foot facility. The new park is located in the East Parking Lot of the current Shea Stadium at the north end of Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens.

Nearly all of Ruttura's concrete pump fleet, ranging in size from 31- to 58-meter booms, has been on the project at one time or another since the company began concrete work in August 2007. Two standout pumps that are speeding the project toward completion are innovative boom types from Schwing.

“Our new Schwing 52-meter with RZ5 boom has been valuable because it has a 270-degree tip section that allows us to maneuver in and under the partial roof,” according to Ruttura. “In these situations you need the output but also the versatility. It isn't always about pumping the concrete into the forms. You need some finesse, and this boom provides it.”

The five-section boom has an Overhead Roll and Fold design combined with the 270-degree Z fold tip section. The boom offers more than 990 degrees of total articulation with a 180-degree main section that can be angled away from the pour to allow the operator to insert the remaining four sections into tight areas.

Because the ballpark will feature some of the widest unobstructed concourses in new sports facilities, the 52-meter's 171 feet of vertical reach and 159 feet of horizontal reach combined to place concrete deep into the stadium to cover these wide walkways. Concession stands and restrooms will be located within the facility's exterior walls, leaving these circulation areas with uninterrupted views of the field.

The 52-meter also has the unique feature of curved Super X outriggers that are particularly valuable when multiple setups are required. “We have enjoyed the Super X outriggers on our 47s and now on the 52,” explained Ruttura, “When it is a crowded site like a stadium and all of the trades are jockeying for position, the Super X outriggers take up less space and telescope around obstructions.”

The workhorse pump in Ruttura's fleet, which has been the utility player on the Citi Field project, is the S 31 EZ – another innovative boom type from Schwing. “This is one of our best pumps,” Ruttura explained. “With the telescopic boom we can slip it in and out of places you wouldn't think you can get into. We actually rent it to other pumpers to get them out of jams their pumps can't handle.”

The 31 EZ has 100 feet of vertical reach and 87 feet of horizontal reach. With an unfolding height of 18 feet 8 inches and a telescopic first section, the four-section boom can be retracted and extended 15 feet for unlimited boom configurations with a 278-degree articulating fourth section and 268-degree folding third section.

The Mets announced their plans for an environmentally friendly Citi Field Stadium. They have worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a set of environmental initiatives for the park, including using recycled construction materials and installing a green roof, power-saving lights, low-flush toilets, and developing a major recycling program. This directive is aligned with Ruttura's philosophy. “I have been a sustainability buff for 10 to 12 years,” he explained. “I have been converting my service trucks to diesel for better fuel economy and using my Schwing pumps whenever possible because of their fuel efficiency.”

At Citi Field the structural slab is covered with 2 inches of insulation, and then a 4-inch finish slab is poured. Because a large part of the steel superstructure is up, accessing the portions under the stands is challenging. “The 52 and the 31 will be handy to finish the concrete work on the backside of the stadium where all of the framework is in place,” states Ruttura.

The stadium's overall concrete requirements will be in excess of 30,000 cubic yards. Several mix designs are used at the stadium site. A 3,500-psi concrete with 4- to 7-percent air content placed at a 4-inch slump was used for structural slabs on deck. A 4,500-psi concrete with 1- to 3-percent air content placed at a 7-inch slump was used for the topping slabs.

An adjoining five-story administrative office building is also part of the stadium contract. Inspired by tradition, Citi Field will be clad in brick, limestone, granite, and cast stone, with the brick closely resembling the masonry used at Ebbets Field both in color and texture.

So in a city that is known for sports rivalries, who does Tom Ruttura root for – Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets? For a contractor who is staying busy pumping and finishing concrete all over New York, he has the right answer, “Notre Dame.”


Project Specs

Project: Citi Field, Queens, NY

Owner: New York Mets

Architects: HOK Sport, Kansas City, KS

General Contractor: Hunt-Bovis, a joint venture of Hunt Construction Group, Scottsdale, AZ

Concrete Contractor: Ruttura and Sons, West Babylon, NY

Equipment: Schwing S 52 SX and S 31 EZ concrete pumps with placing booms