Cape Girardeau casino foundation concrete poured

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Workers at the Isle of Capri casino site begin pouring the concrete for the basin that will hold the floating casino floor Tuesday. Work continued throughout the night and required concrete from 40 trucks per hour, totaling 2,100 cubic yards of concrete. (Kristin Eberts)

Truck after truck came one by one -- about 40 concrete trucks every hour for nearly 12 hours -- to the Isle of Capri construction site in Cape Girardeau on Tuesday night.

The trucks delivered more than 2,100 cubic yards of concrete from Delta Companies' Cape Girardeau and Jackson plants to pour the foundation for the basin that will hold Isle's land-based casino's floating gaming floor.

According to Missouri statute, the gaming floor must "float" in a basin of water at least two feet deep.

"Basically, we're building a swimming pool of roughly 41,000 square feet," said Richard Meister, Isle's vice president of design and construction. "This is the bottom of the pool. It's a 12-inch slab, but what's significant is it has to be put together in such a fashion and with the right type of concrete so that it doesn't leak."

The concrete pour was done overnight to reduce traffic congestion and to take advantage of cooler evening temperatures.

"In real hot conditions, the concrete cures at an accelerated rate of speed. We want to try to control how that rate of cure happens," said Fred Jaekle, a vice president with S.M. Wilson and Co. "Fortunately, we've got a nice cool night and the sun and moon and stars are aligning to set those conditions for success."

Cape Girardeau-based Delta Companies has 47 trucks running throughout the night and 68 employees working at its concrete plants and at the casino site, said Jason Barber, account representative with Delta Companies.

To make up the 2,300 cubic yards of concrete needed for the project, Delta Companies used 500 tons of cement, 125 tons of fly ash, 1,500 tons of sand, 2,200 tons of rock and 75,000 gallons of water, Barber said. All these materials were purchased from suppliers in Cape Girardeau and Scott counties.

A normal job for Delta crews might be 150 to 300 cubic yards, so Tuesday night's pour at the casino site was an exceptionally large task.

The 12-inch-thick basin bottom must be perfectly flat, and cannot be more than 1/8 an inch off from one end to the other.

"This is absolutely from a foundation perspective the most important step because everything keys off this. All the other footings and foundations key off the basin. We've got to get that in, get the basin walls up and then we can start with the rest of it," Meister said.

Delta Companies will be working on other portions of the casino foundation, too, and Barber expects they'll be at the casino site until at least Christmas.

"We don't have a lot of opportunities to see pours of this size, so for us to be able to produce a ready mix concrete of this nature and this size is a huge opportunity for us to have this many employees working in this kind of economy," Barber said.

About 50 people worked on the concrete pour through the night at the casino site, and about 30 of them live within a 50-mile radius, according to Isle. Companies participating in this step of the casino construction included Anderson/S.M. Wilson Joint Venture, Vee-Jay Cement, Nip Kelly Equipment, River City Mechanical, Geotechnology, Delta Companies and GLA-Structural Engineer.

The casino building will cost $68 million to construct, according to building permits filed at city hall. The new casino has a total project price tag of $125 million, including the relocation of North Main Street, property acquisition costs, furnishings and casino games. Isle's Cape Girardeau casino expected to have 1,000 slot machines, 28 table games, three restaurants, a lounge and terrace overlooking the Mississippi River and a 750-seat event center when it opens in late 2012.

Once the basin floor is finished, it will cure for several days before crews begin work on the basin walls.

The overall depth of the basin is about 9 feet, the barge floating in it will be about 7 feet deep, said Meister. Visitors to the casino will never see the water under the casino floor, but there are access points in the design so that divers can inspect the barge and basin.

"We've actually got to put divers in a couple times a year to survey the barge. This barge is being inspected by American Bureau of Shipping. There's not difference between the certification on this barge and a barge that's going up and down the river," Meister said.

LeAnn McCarthy, Public Information Coordinator with the Missouri Gaming Commission, said Missouri Gaming Commission personnel were on site Tuesday for the pour and will continue to make routine inspections during casino construction.

Meister said people can expect to see steel going up at the casino site around Thanksgiving.


Pertinent address:

777 N. Main Street, Cape Girardeau, M1

Map of pertinent addresses

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