Construction on the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers ground to a halt Thursday--but only briefly, and for a good reason.
Around 2000 construction workers joined with politicians, businessmen and team executives to celebrate the "Topping Out" of the NFL Stadium construction site in Inglewood. The traditional construction event marks the highest beam in the stadium being laid into place.
"It signifies a job well done," said project connector Paul Graham.
The beam was specially marked with the logos of the Rams, Chargers and companies involved with the construction. It was also signed by everyone who has participated in the massive project, said Inglewood mayor James Butts.
Butts, along with the Inglewood City Council, addressed the workers at a ceremonial luncheon.
"We are so proud to be here," Butts said. "This will not just be a great sports venue and entertainment district, this will be the most fantastic district in the western United States."
Butts went on to praise Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who has been privately funding the stadium construction since the Rams moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis in 2016. The billionaire, Butts said, has kept his promise of hiring qualified Inglewood residents as well as entry-level interns over the course of the stadium project.
"This is not just about building a stadium, it's about building new lives and exciting oppertunities for families and people who haven't worked before this project," Butts said. "Stan Kroenke, you have made a difference in the lives of people in this community and we will never forget it."
Butts also reminded the public that the stadium construction is privately funded, something he called "the exception, not the rule" among similar venues.
NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche, who emceed the ceremony, opened by thanking the workers on behalf of the assembled dignitaries.
"We're here to recognize the incredible team of you. You guys are what's making this happen," Wyche said.
Over four million hours of labor have been put in since construction started on the stadium in November 2016. Construction goes on around the clock, with 1,500 workers on the day shift and 500 on the night shift, Graham said.
The project still has a long way to go. The stadium is not expected to be ready until the start of the 2020 NFL season, more than two years from now.
Still, excitement is already building, according to Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff.
"There's a lot of work to be done, but when you take the team down in the hole like we did two weeks ago, watch Jared Goff throw a pass, watch Johnny Hekker punt into the upper deck, I think you get excited for the future of football in Los Angeles," Demoff said.
Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos and president of football operations John Spanos, both sons of majority owner Dean Spanos, also attended the event.
NBC4's Mario Solis contributed to this report.