Ongoing repairs to the zinc-paneled exterior of U.S. Bank Stadium remain visible with no hard deadline for completion and the $1.1 billion building’s Super Bowl showcase getting closer by the day.
Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) executive director Rick Evans said he could see cranes working on the northwestern facade from his office in the building with several more carrying two-person crews on other faces of the 13-month-old stadium.
“They’re basically inspecting the entire building,” Evans said. “They’re pulling panels off. They’re checking fastening systems. They’re checking insulation and water barriers.”
Evans said general contractor Mortenson is “closing in on completing the project.”
But he was unable to say when that would be and the previous goal was completion of the project before the Minnesota Vikings’ 2017 regular season that started earlier this month.
Mortenson executive John Wood said the work would be completed “in the next several weeks.” He said the repairs were dependent on the weather and “carefully coordinated” to avoid disrupting events at the stadium.
Meanwhile, the Vikings are getting anxious. “They’re working on it, and we need it to be completed as quickly as possible,” Vice President Lester Bagley said. “The good news is it’s being completed, and we need to get on with it.”
The building, toward which taxpayers contributed about $500 million, has endured two notable problems since construction was substantially completed. First, there was moisture seepage on a parapet that necessitated installing a more effective water barrier.
Then in the summer and winter of 2016, panels became dislodged and flapped loose during heavy winds.
The stadium was designed to withstand 90-mile-per-hour winds, Evans said, but some panels failed at lower impacts. He said none of the remaining concerns puts health or safety at risk. “It’s kind of a time-consuming effort, but nothing new has been discovered,” he said.
Initially, Wood said Mortenson was focused on the panels on the 27,500-square-foot, steeply sloped northwestern facade. In the summer of 2017, Wood said Mortenson was looking at additional moisture concerns.
The plan was to replace moisture barriers on the joints of the building’s interior panels, then add a new layer of Tyvek under the zinc panels for extra protection. At the time, Wood said Mortenson would also install “heat trace” to the lower edge of the wall to prevent icicles from forming.
On Wednesday, Wood said the remedial work affects less than 10 percent of the building’s overall metal panel enclosure area, adding that it’s “progressing as planned” and “on schedule.” Installation of additional fasteners to the metal panels is complete and reinforcements are almost complete. The enhancement of water barriers is underway.
Mortenson and its subcontractor spent months assessing the damage — removing panels, reinforcing fasteners, trying to figure out the problem to ensure a permanent effective fix.
No one has publicly characterized the cost of all the repairs. Wood has previously said the cost of the additional Tyvek would fall to the MSFA.
As to whether the work will be done by the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, Wood said “yes.”
“The priority for everyone involved is to get the work completed,” he said. “Taxpayers should not pay for it.”
The building remains under warranty.