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Copyright 2018 The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Workers jacked up a part of the Miller Park roof Monday and removed one of the bogies — the powerful engines used to open and close the massive structure.

The work is part of a $900,000 project that combines routine maintenance with an investigation into an odd "clicking" sound coming from one of the bearings on the bogie.

The clicking could be heard every time the enormous roof was moved, and the stadium district and Milwaukee Brewers decided it was time to replace the bogie and determine what was causing the noise.

"They wanted a chance to better diagnose and understand the issue," said Mike Duckett, executive director of the Southeastern Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District, the public body that oversees the stadium.

"The bearing has been 'clicking' for about a year now — more noticeable in warmer weather. We do not believe the 'clicking' is anything significant."

Removal of the bogie was a daylong undertaking. The engine was taken apart into two large pieces. A crane then lifted the machinery off the track and lowered it 120 feet down to the plaza outside the left field wall.

Two lifts were required — one portion of the engine weighs 32 tons and another, the engine's drivetrain, weighs 34 tons, The second lift was completed by about 3 p.m.

The bogies are the crucial workhorses of the Miller Park roof, the most important feature of the 17-year-old stadium.

The balky bearing is one of 80 such pieces of equipment that ensure smooth operation of the 12,000-ton roof. There are eight bearings on each of the 10 bogies used to move the five roof panels.

This is the first in-depth work performed on the bogies since they were all replaced in 2006.

Duckett said engineers were confident that the noisy bogie wasn't an indication of a more widespread issue with the roof machinery.

The portion of the bogie with the suspect bearing will be trucked to Falk Corp. near the stadium in the Menomonee Valley. The bearing will be replaced and the old one will be taken apart to determine the source of the noise, Duckett said.

The roof project was originally estimated to cost $1 million, but bids came in closer to $900,000, Duckett said.

The work will be paid through a reserve fund maintained by the stadium district. The stadium district and the Brewers each contribute to the fund, which will have about $15 million by the end of 2018.

Other routine and preventative maintenance will be done while the equipment is on the site, Duckett said. Two other bearings that help bear the weight of the roof will be replaced and other postseason maintenance will be completed.

The entire project should take between seven and 10 days.

The roof has scored at the box office for the team, which is drawing some 1 million additional fans per year, on average, compared with County Stadium. Last year, nearly 2.6 million fans attended Brewers games and that number neared 3 million for the just-completed season and playoff run.

Construction costs and debt for Miller Park was paid for with a 0.1 percent sales tax in the five-county area. The tax is expected to end in either late 2019 or early 2020.

The bogie bearing project is not expected to affect the sales tax sunset date, Duckett said.

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November 13, 2018


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