ST. LOUIS – FOX 2 News has obtained video, photos, and documents giving a full picture of the damage to the new soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis that has delayed the arena hosting its first-ever soccer game.
The information was obtained through a public records request to the City of St. Louis. The damage reports said a crew working on streetlight installations struck two underground utility conduits on Friday, Sept. 2.
A spokesperson for the City of St. Louis had initially said the issue was identified six days later, on Thursday, Sept. 8.
There are two separate projects going on at the stadium site at the same time: the stadium project and a city street project, which includes the construction of a new section of 22nd Street next to the stadium.
The cost of the new stadium and new soccer training center complex has been estimated at nearly a half-billion dollars. The cost estimate for the City of St. Louis’s portion of the Jefferson Avenue and 22nd Street corridor project is $17 million.
In a “Daily Diary” for the city project, an assistant chief engineer said the damaged conduits run under the street from the stadium to its VIP parking lot.
The report said the conduits were never marked by Missouri One Call or “Dig Rite” services, which identify where utility lines are buried to allow for safe digging. It said the stadium construction team also did not alert the city street workers of the buried conduits.
A “Daily Diary” report said Raineri’s electrical subcontractor, Gerstner Electric, “offered to repair the damaged conduit before the close of business…” but the stadium team opted to have its electrical subcontractor do the work.
The “Daily Diary” report, from the next day, said there were trouble finding workers for a complete repair with the onset of Labor Day weekend. It said there was “an operator with a mini-excavator on site (who) had constructed a berm around the damaged conduit and excavated a small trench” to direct any rain water toward a new storm sewer structure.
A construction team text message showed that it didn’t work. The rain water flowed into the damage conduits. The water then poured into the power station under the stadium’s southwest corner.
Days later, an email from the assistant chief engineer said the flood water “fried a couple of main breakers.”
The St. Louis City SC’s developmental team, City2, was supposed to play the first-ever game in the stadium on Sunday, September 18, but it was changed due to the damage. The game was moved to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). The team’s upcoming playoff game on Sept. 25 will also be played there.
St. Louis could end up hosting two more City2 home playoff games.
The fans hope one or two matches could be played in the new stadium, but officials have yet to give an estimate on how long repairs will take.