New Era Field Small Cells
- Major concern was the limited capacity in the parking lot for fans prior to game time.
- Despite multiple unforeseeable setbacks and challenging conditions, ANS delivered a 100% complete cell site installation project at one of the largest Verizon Wireless projects in upstate New York for 2018 within a condensed timeframe.
- ANS served as the general contractor, responsible for coordinating with New Era Field, subcontractors, and Verizon Wireless to keep the project on schedule and on budget.
The New Era Field, home of the Buffalo Bills required an upgrade to the existing wireless infrastructure in the form of 14 new small cell sites. Due to the nature of the venue and time of year, this project needed to be completed within a tight time frame in order to meet specific deadlines.
In addition to staying ahead of, and working around, the events scheduled at the stadium, the project faced several other roadblocks that condensed the timeframe even more. Due to changes associated with the building permit, approvals that were expected to happen in May were delayed to the second week of June. This, coupled with unmarked underground utilities and weather-related issues made meeting the proposed completion date a challenge.
The scope for the project included:
- 14 small cell sites located in seven different parking lots
- Over 6,000 feet of utility trenching and conduit installation
- The county required compaction testing for all utility trenching. Their requirement was 95% compaction, tested in 6 inch lifts, at every 100 feet of utility trench
- All trenching needed to be restored to original condition. Most had to be paved
- Four new equipment compounds and electric/telco services
- Antenna and Line included: 84 antennas, 84 cross band couplers, 126 RRH’s, 600 – ¼” coax jumpers, and the required testing and closeout documents
- This included the first VZW deployment of LAA RRH’s and antennas in the field.
- The fiber portion of the project included over 2,000 fiber termination points and required testing
- Troubleshooting the site with VZW to get the sites operational
Despite the various challenges, ANS was able to deliver a completed, high quality product by the requested completion date. Through daily communication we were able to address issues immediately and implement solutions in real time.
Communication & Coordination
In addition to this project, New Era Field had several active construction projects being performed simultaneously. ANS coordinated directly with New Era Field to complete areas ahead of other construction, thus staying ahead of the pace to ensure a timely schedule.
Managing Utility Challenges
Although the Verizon Wireless project was tested with GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) to identify underground utilities, and although UFPO cleared the site, there were still a number of unmarked utilities encountered during excavation. This included, but wasn’t limited to, fiber, gas lines, secondary electric (both active and abandoned), abandoned conduit, duct banks, water lines, and stormwater lines. Each time a utility was encountered, it was quickly determined whether it was active and, if so, repaired as soon as was feasible.
Managing Weather-Related Issues
Weather and ground conditions were ongoing challenges during the project. The region encountered heavy rains which made ground water an issue during the utility trenching. This, coupled with unstable fill material in the parking lots, made it difficult to keep the trenches open during the conduit installation. During the second half of the project, high temperatures and drought conditions made it difficult to reach 95% compaction for the backfill for the utility trenching. The fill material needed to be watered constantly to maintain enough moisture to reach the requirement. Despite these unavoidable setbacks, ANS was still able to complete the project on time.
Working Through a Challenging Scope
The Antenna & Line portion of the project was cumbersome due to the number of components being installed in the small footprint of a light pole. The crew was able to identify obstacles and standardize the installation at each pole. They worked long hours to meet the objective of getting one site completed per day, and were an integral part of meeting the completion date.
Getting a Large Site Fully Operational
Troubleshooting the site took a substantial amount of time due to the sheer number of connections and new technologies used on the project. ANS was able to work with the subcontractors and VZW to methodically work through each issue and identify the failure points and correct them as needed.