WIN Stadium roof buckles in high winds

The roof of the new WIN Stadium has buckled in high winds. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR
The roof of the new WIN Stadium has buckled in high winds. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR
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Authorities continue to closely monitor the situation tonight. Picture: KEN ROBERTSON

Authorities continue to closely monitor the situation tonight. Picture: KEN ROBERTSON

The fate of WIN Stadium’s western grandstand hangs in the balance tonight, despite weather experts cancelling a severe weather warning.The new roof buckled under gale-force winds this afternoon, and there were fears it could collapse if a predicted second surge of gales hit this evening.The Bureau of Meteorology has since advised that winds have eased.The situation will be monitored and further warnings will be issued if necessary.Emergency services rushed to the stadium this afternoon after strong winds buffeted the newly completed roof.Engineers on site deemed the situation a critical incident. Witnesses say a large structural beam appears to have snapped.The Steelers Club has been evacuated as a precaution and parts of Harbour and Burelli streets have been closed due to the dangerous conditions.

  • PHOTO GALLERY: See the buckled stadium roofPolice have extended the exclusion zone as the risk of collapse grows.Wollongong police commander Superintendent Kyle Stewart said a structural engineer had arrived on the scene and was assessing the damage.‘‘He will assess the amount of compromise there has been to the integrity of the roof structure,’’ he said.‘‘Until we have the formal report from the structural engineer, we’re rendering the environment unsafe.’’options={AutoRewind:false,AutoStart:false,Player:"flv",Speed:"low",Width:463,Height:260}The evacuation of the Steelers Club and the closure of surrounding roads were among the precautions police had taken.‘‘We’re looking for people to stay away, it’s an unsafe environment at the present time and it will help us if we don’t have to manage crowds as well as managing the emergency response.’’Employee Megan Jarrett was one of a number of Steelers staff members and around 20 patrons evacuated.‘‘All we know is that we were told it might blow over,’’ she said.Illawarra Mercury journalist Mario Christodoulou reported the grandstand roof was in a precarious state.‘‘Every time the wind picks up it seems to be teetering back and forwards,’’ he said.‘‘It is moving more and more with each gust of wind.’’Mr Stewart said the response team was staying in touch with the Bureau of Meteorology.‘‘Given the time of day, it’s likely we’ll cordon off the area and wait for tomorrow for the works department to get involved.’’At 5pm, the bureau warned that there could be another wind surge this evening, lasting until 10pm. Gusts could again reach up to 100km/h.Construction on the $29 million grandstand had been nearing its final stages.The roof is held together by two trusses, each weighing nearly 50 tonnes.The structure is so large and heavy a 450-tonne crane was required to install it in May this year.