Work will commence today on a major turf replacement program which will see the entire Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) arena surface, almost 20,000 square metres, replaced.
The $1.7 million turf resurfacing program is the most extensive conducted by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) since it reconstructed the field and converted the stadium to host the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The entire turf surface will be stripped and re-levelled, amounting to approximately 3000 cubic metres of material or around 150 truck and trailer loads. This material will be recycled as a top soil product, rather than ending up in landfill.
At the same time, 10 portable pitches will be installed in the centre before new turf is laid in time for the MCG's Sheffield Shield cricket season opener on October 31. The MCG will soon after host Twenty20 (November 7) and 50-over (November 21) internationals between Australia and South Africa.
The MCC has spent several years consulting with other venues around the world to develop a surface renewal strategy that ensures the quality of the turf is world-class and can accommodate the variety and volume of events played at the MCG.
"Since the ground was redeveloped for the Commonwealth Games in 2006, turf replacements have been conducted when required to prolong the life of the turf surface," said MCC arenas operations manager Tony Gordon. "This may be due to damage to the turf caused by wear and tear or wet weather.
"However, the life span of any natural turf sports surface is not infinite and, while our artificial lighting system has significantly reduced the need for turf replacement, the MCG is a high-use venue. Strategic turf replacement is crucial to ensuring our playing surface is among the best in the world. Both cricket and AFL players will enjoy the benefits of this program."