03 May 2010

Night Construction Speeds Dallas Convention Hotel


DALLAS — As the city winds down every day, one of its highest profile construction projects revs up.

"We're about a third of the way down with the building structure right now," said Michael Hite, general superintendent of the new Dallas convention center hotel.

Three days a week, while the city is asleep, cranes spin, trucks arrive and concrete construction crews go to work on the site just north of the Dallas Convention Center.

It's not at the crack of dawn, but in the middle of the night. The main reason is to pour concrete.

Texas concrete contractors have quietly been adding one new floor every week — often before the city wakes up.

"Logistically, we don't have to deal with rush hour traffic in the morning," Hite explained. "We're able to be not so much of a burden with the City of Dallas, especially on a downtown project where you have concrete trucks staged for literally five, six, seven hours at a time. We're less of an impact to them."

What's most remarkable about the overnight work is how fast special additives help the concrete harden. Twelve hours after it's poured, workers can walk on it.

They've built up to the eighth floor now, which is one-third of the 23-story structure.

The 1,000 room hotel is set to open in about two years. It's estimated to cost $550 million.

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