Steel Shots: First Roof Truss Installed for Detroit Arena

The first roof truss, weighing about 125 tons, was put in place for the new Detroit Events Center last week. (Photos courtesy of Olympia Development of Michigan) 

The first steel roof truss for the new Detroit Events Center was lifted into place last week. Ironworkers with Detroit-based Midwest Steel (an AISC member and certified erector) first spent nearly two weeks on the ground rigging and welding together the super truss—a massive steel piece weighing close to 125 tons—the first of three pieces that will make up a single roof span. The piece was carefully hoisted into place where it was connected to the arena structure on one side and a temporary shoring tower on the other.

The beginning of roof construction is an important milestone for the project as it begins the process of closing in the arena, stated Olympia Development of Michigan. The $650-million project is on schedule for a September 2017 opening.

Now that initial work on the roof has been completed, new pieces of the roof structure are scheduled to be added every day until the arena is totally enclosed, which should be completed by fall. So far, nearly half of all the structural steel—3,500 pieces—has been placed. The project will use about 10,000 tons total, which is being fabricated by Cives Steel Company (an AISC member and certified fabricator) at their Midwest Division in Wolcott, Ind.

The new arena will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, other sports and entertainment events, concerts and community functions. It is also the heart of District Detroit, a 45-block revitalization area that will include residential, retail and commercial elements.

For more on the Detroit Events Center, including project updates, a live webcam and a video of the first super truss being hoisted into place, go to