Individuals involved in the roll-out of the trays that will make up the retractable pitch at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium have described the process as a “massive milestone” as the ground continues to take shape.

With the stadium set to double up as the home of Premier League football club Tottenham and a ground that can host NFL matches, a smooth transition between the two surfaces will be required, and tests were carried out on the retractable pitch over the weekend.

Spurs said that the west and centre sections of the pitch – huge trays that are each made up of 33 smaller trays – were tested on Saturday and Sunday as they were transferred from underneath the South Stand before joining together and returning back to the South Stand garage.

The pitch has been designed by Sheffield-based engineering firm SCX and will comprise three sections, with the east section to be tested in the near future. All three sections will slide out simultaneously in about 25 minutes once the installation has been completed.

The hydraulic sides of the pitch were also tested over the weekend. These sides lift once the three pitch trays have connected in order to raise the touchlines to ensure they are on the same level as the grass playing surface.

Nick Cooper, head of moving structures, said: “The weekend represented the first time we’ve moved the pitch trays out. To do that, we had to fix up the generators, the electrics, SCX brought down their design and mechanical engineers just in case anything happened and what I can report is that it worked first time exactly how we wanted it to work, which is great news.

“The hydraulic sides are enormous, a 120-metre truss that runs the full length of the pitch and it all moves up and raises together. In one side, there are eight moving bridges all operating concurrently. That is a tremendous achievement by the electrical engineers. The sides weigh 480 tonnes, so we’re lifting 480 tonnes up in a matter of minutes – and it all works beautifully.”

SCX project manager Danny Pickard added: “It’s the first time the moving pitch as a completed unit has been slid out and moved together. The weekend was all about the first movement from the garage area where we’ve assembled the pitch trays to bring them out into the bowl to see how smoothly it ran, to see how well the edges of the trays lined up and to also interface with the hydraulic pitch sides, so a test of what we’d call the big picture, how all the big pieces fit together.

“It took a lot of work by a lot of people to get it there, lots of late nights but the weekend went brilliantly. We’d done a lot of testing beforehand of all the smaller pieces but the size and scale of the overall project…there is a lot of weight, mechanisms, manufacturing tolerances and installation tolerances, so to have tested all that and for it all to have fitted together first time was a great achievement for everyone who has put it together. It was a massive milestone completed for us.”

Image: 3D Digital Venue