The Big Pour


The construction site for Austin’s new Central Public Library was brightly lit on Friday evening as final preparations were being made for the pouring of the foundation. According to the library’s web site: “The mat slab is approximately 200 ’x 200’ and is 5’-6” thick and has 1,433 tons of reinforcing steel.” Over 1000 cement deliveries would be needed for this ’round-the-clock pour.


Shortly after 9:30 PM on Friday evening, I spotted a pair of cement mixers coming across the First Street Bridge. Deliveries continued on a regular basis throughout the night, with the trucks traveling in pairs or trios. I woke up early to the not-so-gentle rumbling of cement mixers…no need for an alarm clock on this Saturday morning.


I decided to walk over to the construction site to get a closer view. The cement mixers were backed up to four concrete pump trucks, with their extended yellow arms pouring concrete down into a grid of metal strips. A bystander told me that this is called rebar. I later saw a comment on a local news website that described this particular job as having “sweet looking rebar.” I am pleased to know that our new library has this attribute.

DSC01708Cement deliveries and concrete pouring continued throughout the afternoon. The slab looks almost finished in my photo below, taken about 3 PM. When I checked again before sunset, the cement mixers were gone and the yellow arms of the pump trucks were folded up. The entire pour was completed in less than the planned-24 hours.

DSC01726So, our new library now has another desirable attribute: a sweet-looking mat slab. And only two more years until the grand opening in Summer 2016…

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