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Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof is open

The retractable roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium was opened Tuesday, and it will remain that way for 10 days as part of what stadium officials call the final phase of work on its automation.

The forecast of probable rain over the next few days did not alter the plan, announced late last week, to open the roof for construction purposes. The stadium’s artificial-turf field is designed to drain rain. 

The roof, which has been closed for all but two events in the stadium’s first nine months of operation, is scheduled to be open for Atlanta United’s match against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, regardless of weather. 

Following the 10-day period in which construction activities will require that the roof be continuously open, an unspecified number of weeks will be devoted to “final commissioning work to complete the automation,” stadium officials said in a news release last week. After that, operation of the complex, eight-panel roof  is scheduled to be turned over by the contractor to the stadium staff. 

The retractable roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium was opened late Tuesday morning. (Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Stadium)

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Upon completion, the roof is supposed to open or close in as few as 12 minutes. 

The roof was open for a Falcons game Sept. 17 and an Atlanta United game Oct. 22, but otherwise it has been closed for events in the $1.5 billion-plus stadium. Once automation work is completed, officials with the teams and stadium have said they will routinely determine whether the roof will be open or closed for Falcons and Atlanta United games based on weather conditions and the comfort and safety of attendees.

Steve Cannon, CEO of Falcons and Atlanta United parent company AMB Group, said in a statement that the fully operable roof will be “a unique part of the stadium and fan experience.”

“The complexity of the design and our heavy events schedule has made it take longer than we had hoped, but great things take time and we’re happy to see the finish line,” Cannon said.

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