By Seth Daniel
At 5 a.m. on Monday, ironworkers stood ready as sky-high cranes began picking up steel columns and putting them into place on the northernmost end of the Wynn Boston Harbor site – the first steel to go up on the project, and just the beginning of what will be a flurry of activity in the next few months.
“Symbolically, it’s a great milestone when you begin putting up the steel,” said Chris Gordon, president of Wynn Design and Development. “It says we’re on schedule and moving quickly. It shows good productivity. In a couple of months, people will be able to see the steel from the road. This spring, we’ll start putting the tower up at the hotel site. People will be amazed when they see it going up, especially from the interstate.”
Gordon said on Monday they began assembling the steel structure for the Central Utility Plant (CUP). In one day, numerous columns had been put in place and several beams had been affixed to those columns at the northernmost end of the building – by the railroad tracks.
Gordon said the Ironworkers have 50 days to get the steel completed on the CUP, but he said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if they got it done sooner than that.
The CUP is the first focus of constructing the “bones” of the building because it houses the most complicated systems and needs to have the heating, air conditioning and other systems installed and in place far in advance of the building opening.
“The whole CUP area has to get done first because it’s above the garage and because we need it for heating and air conditioning. That’s what gets built first and gives us the guts of the building.”
The coordination of the steel deliveries and installations is one of the more marvelous pieces observed of the construction to date. Gordon said everything has to line up when it arrives and it has to arrive exactly on time.
The building is on a very tight timeline, and so there is little room for leeway with organization and deliveries. That’s why, Gordon said, the steel is laid out in order on the trucks so there’s no confusion.
“Everything is put on the trucks in order, and they take it off in order,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s inefficient. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of pieces of steel and they will have to they have to arrive in the right order and at the right time.”
Gordon said by next year, the building will be closed in.
“One year from now the entire tower will be erected and closed in,” he said. “In fact we’ll have mock up hotel rooms that will be assembled on the first floor of the hotel by next year…Right now, today, someone is making our bronze glass panels that will cover the outside of the hotel. There’s someone in a factory today making the bronze glass because we start putting it up in July.”
Beyond the steel, Gordon said they are 50 percent complete in removing the soil from the four-story underground parking garage section, with some concrete floors already poured.
At the moment, there are 15 excavators working onsite to remove the dirt, which is shipped out in two full trains per day and 100 trucks. He said they expect to be done removing the soils by the end of February.
In all, they will have moved 600,000 tons of soil from the garage area.
Meanwhile, marine work has commenced and gone very well given the rather mild winter so far.
Crews are cleaning up the shoreline on the inside of the site and building large bulkheads to contain the shore. They hope to get the larger bulkhead work done this year so that in 2018 they can begin working on the fine details of the shoreline.
Gordon did comment on the weather, saying it has been good working conditions, and warmer weather this week will allow them to make some major concrete pours that will put them further ahead.
“This winter will have the biggest impact on us,” he said, “because next year we’ll be working enclosed. So far, it’s been good.”