UT engineering present at Bristol Motor Speedway in "Colossus"

Sep 10, 2016

By WVLT Staff | Posted: Fri 9:39 PM, Sep 09, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- University of Tennessee's engineering program had a large presence in the Bristol Motor Speedway in preparation for the Battle at Bristol, notably in the installation of "Colossus."

"Colossus" is a huge 700-ton high-resolution TV that is suspended over the field in the speedway. Barnhart Crane, headed by UT civil engineering graduate Alan Barnhart, completed the installation of the structure. The Vice President of Development at Barnhart Crane Brian Thomas also graduated from the university with a degree in chemical engineering.

"When presented with the installation of Colossus, we knew we had to be involved because of a certain historic football game that was to be played," Thomas said.

The installation required about 40 miles of cables and fiber optic lines. The largest cable of the project weighed 63 pounds per foot. The main suspension lines of "Colossus" weigh more than those that support the Golden Gate Bridge, according to Bristol Motor Speedway officials.

"The biggest challenge was the installation of suspension cables that were 3.5 inches in diameter and more than 600 feet long, with each connected to a suspended halo 150 feet over the infield," Thomas said. "All of that had to be done simultaneously, without any touching the ground, with limited planning time to mobilize the required equipment and personnel."

Officials from the speedway noted that any fears that a rogue football may strike the screen are unfounded due to the positioning of "Colossus" above the stadium.

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