Rain delay: Opening of Rams, Chargers stadium pushed back a year after wet weather

·Yahoo Sports Columnist

So here’s a new one: the opening of the Inglewood, California, stadium that will be occupied by the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers will be delayed a year because of heavier-than-usual rain.

Developers told Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times that the rains came at the worst possible time for the project, the excavation phase.

“The continuing rains really knocked us for a loop,” said Bob Aylesworth, principal in charge for the Turner/AECOM Hunt joint venture that is building the stadium. “It was a very unforgiving two months for the project. And speaking from a building perspective, it really couldn’t have come at a worse time.”

A wheelbarrow sits at the site of the former Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif., where a stadium for NFL football Los Angeles Rams is being built. The opening date for stadium, under construction in Inglewood, Calif., has been pushed back one year to 2020 after heavy rains halted the project for two months. (AP)
A wheelbarrow sits at the site of the former Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif., where a stadium for NFL football Los Angeles Rams is being built. (AP)

The Times reported that from November to February, Los Angeles International Airport, which is close to the stadium site, got 15.4 inches of rain, which is more than double the average amount for those three months.

The precipitation came during the site excavation, and brought the project to a standstill for two months. The massive hole that was dug and which will eventually hold the stadium, became a lake, as water as deep as 15 feet filling it.

Once the rain ended, the lake had to be drained before work could begin again.

Despite planning for 30 days of work being lost to rain over the three-year project, there has already been twice that lost. Developers said that time can’t be made up, in part because the construction timetable was already ambitious and also because the stadium is slated to be home to two teams, which makes scheduling even more difficult.

“If this had been a one-team facility, perhaps we could have made up work or at least petitioned the league to allow some of the games of the [2019] season to be scheduled away from Inglewood,” said Dale Koger, senior vice president and managing director for Legends Project Development.

So the Rams will stay at the LA Coliseum through the 2019 season (their initial contract with the University of Southern California included an option to do so), and the Chargers will play one more season at the StubHub Center in Carson.

Currently, the stadium is slated to host the Super Bowl LV in 2021, and while that is not in jeopardy, there is one thing that will need tending: by NFL rule, stadiums are supposed to be open two years before they host a Super Bowl, likely to make sure any issues have been smoothed out.

A waiver from the league would be needed. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted that MetLife Stadium was granted a waiver before hosting Super Bowl XLVIII because as an open-air stadium it wasn’t 50 degrees or warmer in the month leading up to the game.

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