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U.S. Bank Stadium builders finish panel repairs

By Matt M. Johnson
Bridgetower Media Newswires 

Workers from the sheet-metal contractor MG McGrath remove and replace zinc panels at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The panels were damaged by high winds and winter weather over the weekend and on Monday. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Workers from the sheet-metal contractor MG McGrath remove and replace zinc panels at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The panels were damaged by high winds and winter weather over the weekend and on Monday. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Work to replace and repair several zinc panels damaged or blown off U.S. Bank Stadium over the weekend and on Monday has been completed sooner than the stadium’s builder had expected.

Now, the general contractor M.A. Mortenson, of Golden Valley, Minn., and the sheet metal contractor MG McGrath, of Maplewood, Minn., will get to work fastening those panels more securely to the building.

Mortenson and McGrath got started Tuesday replacing one panel that fell off the $1.1 billion stadium and swapping out others that were partially dislodged and bent by what the stadium authority called “extreme weather and high winds.” The repairs were complete by 10 a.m. Wednesday, said Jenn Hathaway, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

McGrath and Mortenson workers used a crane to make the repairs to the dark metal panels on the prow of the stadium facing Medtronic Plaza off Park Avenue and on the east side of the stadium.

John Wood, a senior vice president at Mortenson, said the crews would look over the entire stadium to make sure all damaged panels were found and replaced.

“The damage appears isolated, but we are inspecting the exterior of the building to be certain,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

The facilities authority expects the contractors to complete a long-lasting repair of all the building’s panels. McGrath attempted to make that permanent change in July after a storm had torn panels loose two weeks before the stadium opened. The panels were bolted only at the bottoms when they were installed. McGrath fastened the tops of panels that were deemed to be at risk for wind damage.

This time around, contractors will install fasteners on the tops of panels that did not get extra reinforcement last summer, said Cameron Snyder, a spokesman for Mortenson.

“Mortenson and M.G. McGrath are now proceeding to install additional fasteners to panels on the building to help prevent future damage by similar weather events,” said Mortenson’s Wood in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “Our experts and the outside consultants who have studied the problem are confident in this solution.”

The work will take several weeks to complete, although it could be slowed by bad weather, the company said.

The repairs will come at no cost to the stadium authority. Hathaway said the panels are covered by a two-year warrantee.

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