WRIGLEY FIELD — After a bitterly cold winter kept workers out of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs want to prevent further delays by increasing the workload.
The team is seeking permission from Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) to begin 24/7 construction as soon as possible in order to complete as much work as possible before Opening Day, set for April 5.
"Every day we're anxious. Every day we're worried about weather, we're worried about the delivery of steel," said Crane Kenney, the Cubs president of business operations. "It's disappointing every day we lose a day to weather, but there are certain things you can't control."
On Monday, the Cubs said the cold weather meant bleacher construction remains behind schedule, as work could not be done when temperatures dropped below 10 degrees. The left field bleachers are expected to be open by May 11, with the right field bleachers to be open in June, Kenney said.
"We were hopeful for a warm winter. We did not get that," Kenney said. "I think over the last nine days, we lost five days on the bleachers. We'd love to pick that time up by extending our work hours."
Kenney said if the increased construction times are approved, the workers will still set schedules to be mindful of Wrigley Field's neighbors. Ideally, the majority of extended work hours would be on weekends.
"We understand the inconvenience to the neighbors and the city, but they also understand the importance of Opening Day," Kenney said.
While fans will be able to use the left and center field bleachers by May, work will continue through the season, Kenney said. On Monday, Kenney said the left field video board will be operational on Opening Day, although the right field sign will not be ready until later.
The bleacher work is the first of four phases in the renovation project. Kenney said work on the plaza and concourse remains on schedule, with work on the clubhouse and office building to begin in April. Work on the nearby hotel is scheduled to begin at the end of the season.
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