Anyone who has spun by the northeastern section of the Metrodome (and certainly anyone who works near there) has heard the telltale clang and din of construction. It's the first tangible sign that the controversial $1 billion Vikings stadium is actually a construction project.
Most noticeable is the considerable hole that have been dug to make way for the new stadium's footprint. As John Wood, senior vice president for general contractor Mortenson Construction, noted Friday, the new stadium is quite a bit larger than the current Metrodome. "We're basically digging the basement for the new stadium," he said following a meeting of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Friday.
Beyond the Big Dig, electricity to the Dome will be turned off Jan. 18, and the roof will deflate soon after that. Within minutes, actually.
The roof fabric will ultimately be cut up and perhaps recycled, as was the case after it was replaced in 2010 when it caved in due to excessive snow mass. Once the power is cut off, demolition will begin immediately on the 32-year-old Dome.
In the meantime, 70,000 cubic yards of dirt have already been excavated from the property -- all told, some 850,000 cubic yards will be removed. Some of the soil cannot be reused, but the intention is to use as much as possible for cost-savings purposes. (Wood estimated that the savings could reach the $800,000 mark.)
The stadium authority on Friday approved a contract with 309 9th Ave. South LLC, an entity associated with the Wilf family (owners of the Vikings), to lease space the Wilfs own across from the Dome for soil storage for up to $60,000.