New Heinz Field surface nears completion
By Jerry DiPaola
Thursday, June 12, 2003
The Steelers are within a week of completing a project that may end the turf problems at Heinz Field for at least the next 10 years.
D.D. Grassmasters of The Netherlands is sewing between 17 million and 20 million polypropylene fibers into the playing surface's new Kentucky bluegrass. The project is expected to be finished next week, about two months before the Steelers' first preseason game at Heinz Field.
Cost of the project has been estimated at between $600,000 and $700,000 and is being paid for by the Steelers.
Ted Dhawtal, project supervisor for Grassmasters, explained how the 3/4-inch long synthetic fibers hold the turf together.
"The roots are growing around the fiber," he said.
Grassmasters developed the combination of natural and fake grass at the request of a Dutch sports federation. The surface has been used on soccer fields in Great Britain and was laid at the new NFL stadiums in Denver and Philadelphia, a public park in Seattle and a minor-league baseball stadium in Binghamton, N.Y.
"It's the best field in the world," Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.
Dhawtal said the surface should last between 10 to 15 years and can withstand 900 to 1,200 hours of play per year.
Heinz Field played host to 22 football games last season, including 10 by the Steelers, seven by Pitt and five high school championship games. As a result, the surface was resodded five times.