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Oquirrh Park Olympic Speed Skating Rink

Investigation of collapse of roof section during construction. Determination of cause, review of proposed repairs, litigation.

Weidlinger Associates was hired to determine the cause of a partial roof collapse that occurred during construction of the $30-million Oquirrh Park Speed Skating Oval in 2000. The facility, scheduled to host the speed skating events of the 2002 Olympic Games, contained a 400-meter enclosed skating rink with two full-sized hockey sheets, a weight training room, a sports medicine room, 15 locker rooms, a pro shop, concessions, and a skate rental area. A unique cable-suspended structure supported the roof, eliminating the massive structural components that would have been required by the long spans.

The investigation entailed thorough documentation of the pre-collapse and post-collapse conditions, including laboratory testing of several failed structural elements that were retrieved from the site. Photographic documentation and field surveys were used to assess the layout of debris after the collapse, which assisted engineers in determining possible failure mechanisms. Computer analyses and historical site-specific wind studies were also performed to determine the loads on structural members at various construction stages.

The investigation led to a satisfactory resolution of the case. The structure was completed in time for the Games and quickly acquired a reputation as the fastest speed skating track in the world. The winning times in eight of the ten contests at the venue set new world records.

Completion Date: 2001
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Owner or Client: Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee
Prime Consultant(s): WAI Prime; Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough

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