SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – The heavy lifting is about to begin on the new San Francisco 49ers football stadium in Santa Clara – in spite of the fact that legal challenges surrounding the project remain unresolved.

While no specific date has been announced, the team has said groundbreaking will be sometime in May, at the latest.

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“Yeah, we’re excited about the make-ready work that’s going into the project right now,” enthused 49ers Director of Corporate Communications, Steve Weakland. “It’s an about $11 million part of the project that we are getting the site prepared for actual construction.”

In short, the team is simply waiting for the “prep work” to be completed.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

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“We’re putting in infrastructure to prepare the stadium,” Weakland detailed. “New sidewalks, removing some roadways, replacing roadways, putting in power, necessary power and water that is going to be needed to run a stadium this large.”

Weakland describes the team as also being “very pleased” with the way season ticket sales are going.

Stadium opponents, meanwhile, have collected enough signatures for a referendum to block the Santa Clara construction deal, and have asked a judge to block it – pending another vote by residents. The City of Santa Clara, however, contends that the deal isn’t subject to referendum.

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