State leaders want the Legislature to approve $10.9 million in repairs to a busy parking ramp at the Minnesota Capitol after discovering deteriorated cables supporting the deck.
Hundreds of spaces have closed at the Centennial Parking Ramp over the past four months, worsening the statehouse parking crunch as workers raced to shore up concrete support beams and fix and replace cables between the basement and first floors.
The Minnesota Department of Administration sought the funds in a preliminary capital budget request that Gov. Mark Dayton submitted to the Legislature last week.
“The governor recognizes, much like the aging infrastructure in water resources across the state, that there’s a really important responsibility to maintain the state’s assets,” Commissioner Matt Massman said. “I think it’s a very important need.”
The request said that failing to make the repairs would render the 1,489-stall ramp “unsafe over time and could result in catastrophic failure.”
Department officials clarified Thursday that the warning referred to the consequences if engineers didn’t immediately shore up the first floor after finding problems there last September. They noted that the structure, as a whole, has been safe.
The department was already planning a rehab at the 60-year-old ramp when engineers identified structural problems during routine maintenance. It initially closed 400 parking spaces at Centennial — moving some employees to other lots — but reopened 120 of them in recent months.
“The parking ramp is certainly safe as long as the shoring is in place, but it’s important to complete the work so that we can bring those parking spaces back,” Massman said.
Further work depends on whether the Legislature votes to include the project in this year’s bonding bill when lawmakers convene in March.
Water drainage from green space on the top level has led to continual runoff that has worsened deterioration in lower levels. The department also wants a stormwater retention system to limit the problem and improve water quality.
The request calls for funding the project with general obligation bonds, rather than fully financing it from parking fees. Debt service would be paid over 20 years.
The department has already spent $2.2 million from its emergency maintenance account to do early repairs. It’s seeking $7.5 million from the Legislature to replenish the fund.