SBD/August 26, 2014/Facilities

49ers Rip Up Levi's Stadium Turf Again, New Sod To Be Ready For Regular Season

New turf will be ready for the 49ers' regular-season opener Sept. 14
The 49ers yesterday "ripped out the turf" at Levi's Stadium for the "second time in less than a week," according to Mike Rosenberg of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The 49ers "expect to start installing a brand-new field this weekend, and it may include a different type of grass more commonly used at other NFL stadiums." The field "should be ready" for the Sept. 6 Chile-Mexico soccer friendly, as well as the 49ers' regular-season opener against the Bears on Sept. 14. The "thicker-cut field installed two days before Sunday's preseason game" against the Chargers was "meant as a temporary solution because the sod cannot generate the deep roots needed for long-term use." It is "unclear how much the new field will cost, though the original playing surface" had a $1.4M budget. The 49ers yesterday said for the first time that they "will pay for the turf replacement, taking pressure off the public Santa Clara Stadium Authority, which funded the bulk of construction" of the venue. Team officials and consultants will "spend the next few days deciding whether to stick with the Bandera Bermuda sod, a relatively new strain used only in California, or switch to a Tifway grass variety used by more NFL teams" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/26). In Sacramento, Matt Barrows reported backhoes "have been brought in, presumably to dig up and remove some of the sand that had served as a layer below the grass." It was the "composition of soil and sand that was suspected to have been the problem with the original field." After conferring with experts, the 49ers "concluded that there was too much sand in the mix, which didn’t allow the grass to take root like it should have" (SACBEE.com, 8/25).

ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES: 49ers LB Patrick Willis said of the turf issues at Levi's Stadium, "As anything when it's new, you're going to have some problems here and there, and right now it just happened to be the field. But for the most part, the new turf they laid down wasn't too bad. It was actually a lot better than I thought it would be, so you've just got to give it some time and there's always going to be circumstances and you just have to deal with it and fight through it" ("NFL Live," ESPN2, 8/25).
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