The Eagles estimate they will remove between 2-3 million pounds of snow from the stadium complex today, which includes the seating areas, the concourse, the plaza areas and adjacent parking lots. See below for more information from Jason Miller (Eagles VP of Facility Operations) and Tony Leonard (Eagles Director of Grounds).
Jason Miller, Vice President of Facility Operations
What is the process of clearing the field and the stadium of all the snow?
"We bring approximately 600 workers in today to remove the snow from all the stands, including the field. We started clearing the stands at about 7:30 am. Hopefully by midnight tonight we'll be done. If not we'll be here later finishing it up. We're clearing all the stairs, the ramps, the seats, the inner bowl, the field, the plazas, the parking lots. Everything we have control over. It's a big, valiant effort with the city also and with PennDOT."
When did the process start of cleaning out the stands?
"I started at about 6:00 am and we started checking people in at about 7:30. That process went very smoothly. It took about an hour to get just over 400 employees out there removing snow."
Have you gotten this down to a science yet?
"This isn't our first one. We've been doing this since 2003. All the way back to the NFC Championship game in 2004. So we've definitely fine-tuned it and made it a little better. Hopefully I'll get home to sleep in my bed tonight."
How do you get the snow out of the seating bowl?
"We use the black chutes and we shovel the snow into the chutes. The chutes bring the snow down to the field. The mechanical equipment, the front-end loaders, they pick it up, take it out and dump it in the parking lot. From there, they take it from the parking lot and put it in the dump trucks. The city and the Navy Yard work with us. We take it and dump it on the old airport in the Navy Yard."
Where do you find the 400 workers?
"We work with a contractor, American Winter Services, and we also reached out to some of the local unions, too."
Are the workers on their own or do you help them with equipment and to stay warm?
"There are a couple different processes. We check the people when they come in and we also supply them with a winter hat, winter gloves, hand warmers, foot warmers, and any PPE equipment also."
What do you do outside the stadium?
"We have the front-end loaders working out there too. We started working outside the stadium at 2 am to really stay ahead of it. The machinery can last a lot longer than we can. They've really been hitting it all the way through. I don't know if you saw the lots on our immediate block, but that's what we're in control of and they're really clear. It looks good out there."
Do you help the workers stay warm and take breaks?
"Definitely. We break them and we bring them into our clubs. We feed them. We've been giving them water since they came in. We monitor it and we give them breaks every few hours.
Tony Leonard, Director of Grounds
On the explanation of the field tarp and the role it serves:
"The tarp went down [Thursday] morning before the snow started. My staff and I came in yesterday around six o'clock. The snow came in a little bit earlier than expected and then we started plowing the snow off every two inches. We moved the snow off of the track and then from the track out to the parking lot. We worked all the way through the night. I think we finished up around eight o'clock this morning."
On when the tarp will be removed from the field:
"The tarp will come off tomorrow [Saturday] morning. We're going to keep it down because obviously there is some blowing snow and there is a lot of activity right now in the stadium. Plus, with the higher winds, we would rather protect the field."
On how the grounds crew will actually remove the snow from the tarp:
"We have two tractors that we have our tubes on. It's a very safe plow that we came up with and it works out great."
On whether the turf is heated:
"Yes, we have 28 miles of heat pipe and that system is on now to help aid in melting the snow and ice off the surface. That is set at about 60 degrees."
On whether there are any other steps that have to be taken once the tarp is removed:
"Everything should be fine. We painted the field on Wednesday and Thursday, so we're in good shape there. We'll have to do some minor touch-ups if needed. My staff will report tomorrow at 10 a.m. and we'll get the tarp off and do any of those touch-ups."