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Milwaukee Bucks Arena First Truss is Raised into Place

Tiffany Scuglik

The last two days have been extremely exciting at the Milwaukee Bucks Arena as the first enormous steel truss was set into place. The process of setting the truss—which weighs 23 tons—required careful safety considerations, planning, and engineering at the very start of the job. On Tuesday, the JP Cullen team set the first half of the truss and then yesterday, the team set the other half, completing one full truss!

The Process

The trusses come to the site as individual pieces, and the team uses a truss rack to build the truss on the ground. Once assembled on the rack, the truss is erected. Two cranes are required to erect each truss half: the first crane picks and sets the actual truss, while the other crane is used to set infill steel secondary trusses and beams to stabilize the truss. Using this process is a lot easier than trying to build the truss in the air, and much safer. There is a temporary shoring tower to support the truss until all the connections are made, as well as temporary braces to stabilize the truss until the entire roof steel is in and the roof acts as one system. Once the roof acts as one system, the shoring towers and temporary braces can be removed.


This job is a high-risk activity that requires a lot of planning from the very start. In fact, the team has been preparing for this for nearly a year now. Planning includes discussions on how the team is going to accomplish this process safely, what the site is going to look like at that time, and what equipment does the team need at the site on that day. This type of planning required engineering and the use of BIM (Building Information Modeling).  BIM allowed the team to create a 3D model of the job site long before this week for site planning, including details like where the cranes and truss rack should be placed. By the time the first truss arrived on site, the team had been preparing to set it for months.


Fun Facts about the Milwaukee Bucks Arena Steel

  • There are a total of 16 half trusses going into the Milwaukee Bucks Arena. This means this team will go through this process 16 times.
  • There is approximately 6,950 tons of steel (or 13,900,000 lbs.)
  • The arena totals 9,070 pieces of steel
  • It is approximately 460-500 truckloads of steel!

Find out another Tough Job we took that required the erection of a 5-story, 280-foot clear-span auditorium roof structure at Epic Deep Space!

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May 16, 2024