Bollards at the Benz

Bollards at the Benz

How Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium protects attendees from vehicle attacks

Atlanta’s new $1.5 billion stadium, home to the NFL Atlanta Falcons football team and MLS Atlanta United soccer club and site of the recent NCAA national college football championship, is protecting fans, staff and athletes from terrorists and errant drivers from using vehicles as weapons. While the threat of terrorists planning to attack soft targets, such as stadiums, increases, stadium security professionals must look for the weak points throughout their facilities to determine where fanatics are most likely to assail.

Taking their cue from soft target attacks, security teams and other stadium management understand that the use of vehicles, either to transport those who carry out the attack or act as the bomb itself, is a very real threat. Installed by Tusco (Cottondale, Ala.), using Delta Scientific perimeter protection products, the new access system includes four DSC501 barriers, five DSC720 bollards, 39 DSC2000 barriers and 59 DSC680 fixed bollards.

“We are experienced with installing Delta equipment,” said Brent Martina, president of Tusco. “Mercedes-Benz Stadium was particular about their security needs and protocols and requested a customized sequence of operations for their security equipment. Delta Scientific’s products and experienced engineers made them the obvious choice in meeting both the high quality and technical standards required to integrate with the stadium’s sophisticated security system. It was crucial to have a reliable team in place as we received a very compressed schedule to get everything complete by the first football game and, therefore, had no room for errors.”

Because of long, straight approaches to some access points, stadiums oftentimes need to deploy high performance barriers, at the main entrances where players and VIPs, among others, enter with their cars. The DSC501 is the only K54-certified retractable vehicle barricade in the world. Set in a foundation only 18 inches deep, it will survive and operate after a 5.4-million foot pound impact. That’s equivalent to a 65,000-pound truck hitting it at 50 mph. Stopping the truck or car dead in its tracks, the DSC501 protects against a “second hit” risk from a second vehicle. The stadium preferred installing these barricades in a more industrial look, wanting them to be seen.

Five retractable DSC720 bollards were used at the pedestrian entry. This is Delta’s highest crash rated bollard, stopping a 15,000 pound vehicle at 50 mph. The bollard will stop and destroy much larger vehicles than those tested at high velocities. The DSC720 is 35 inches tall and 15 inches wide. At Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the bollards feature brushed stainless-steel sleeves.

Oftentimes, the ground below the access points are filled with cables, wires, pipes and other infrastructure products. As a result, typical, below ground installed traffic bollards, barriers and barricades cannot be used because these infrastructure products are too close to the surface. The solution is to use surface-mounted and shallow foundation barricades and barriers.

At the same time, for some reason, delivery entrances never seem to be as secured as the main entrances to the stadium. With delivery vehicles coming and going, delivery entrances need a solution that lets delivery vehicles enter and exit but stop unauthorized vehicles from entering at all.

At the loading docks, 39 of Delta’s fastest, smallest and shallowest foundation barricades were implemented. Chosen especially for high speed applications and ease of installation, the cost effective DSC2000 barrier is K12 crash certified with no penetration, meaning it will stop a 15,000 pound vehicle traveling 50 mph dead in its tracks. The ten-inch shallow foundation also reduces installation complexity, time, materials and corresponding costs.

Lastly, 50 DSC680 shallow foundation fixed bollards with stainless steel sleeves protect pedestrian areas. They secure any unprotected locations where vehicle bombers and errant drivers have no obstacles. Versus cement barriers such as posts and pots, many organizations prefer fixed post bollards for several reasons.

When hit, cement posts and pots can explode, literally spreading shrapnel throughout the crowd, potentially creating numerous injuries. Shallow foundation bollards can be installed within sidewalks or on top of concrete deck truss bridges as well as conform to the inclines and turns of a locale. They also meet the one-meter clearance regulations mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The fixed bollard, which does not go up and down, provides a significant blocking device solution that continues to challenge security directors faced with threats such as stopping a vehicle from plowing into the stadiums inner perimeter. They let facility managers meet a long-standing challenge—how to easily install bollards on shallow substrates, including those that are not level or have turns. No longer do locations, such as curves on hills, the upper levels of parking structures and other unprotected locales have to rely on unsightly “makedo” solutions to stop car bombers or wayward drivers.

“Delayed by roof issues, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium challenged us with a condensed schedule to provide one of the world’s most secure vehicle access systems,” Martina said. “I’m proud to say that our team completed the work on time and walked away from the project with another pleased client.”

This isn’t the only stadium using Delta equipment to protect staff and attendees from vehicle harm. Among many, Penn State and Purdue as well as Levi Stadium in San Francisco (49ers) are wellknown users. Unfortunately, most procurement offices won’t vendors announce their purchases. This is too bad since terrorists typically won’t go where they know barricades are deployed, reducing security risks dramatically.

Leading universities, including six of the Associated Press (AP) top-10 rated 2018 pre-season football schools, also stayed one step ahead of terrorists and errant drivers this year on their campuses by identifying vulnerable areas and securing them within minutes with Delta MP5000 temporary, portable barriers. These mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers carry a K8 rating (M40 ASTM rating), stopping 7.5 ton vehicles traveling 40 mph.

Terrorists typically don’t go where they see barricades, so placing them wherever possible attacks can happen reduces security risks dramatically. Today, there is little excuse for a major stadium to suffer an attack which uses a vehicle to break through the perimeter. Whatever the weakness a terrorist thinks can be exploited, there is a type of bollard, barricade or barrier to stop him, yet let authorized people through.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of Security Today.

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