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Metrodome Roof Rises Again

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — One of the last scars of our brutal winter is finally gone. The Metrodome roof is back up.

Heavy snow from a December blizzard caused the dome’s roof to cave in, but just a few hours ago, crews in Minnesota were able to inflate the new roof — along with patching a hole that’s been in the city’s skyline.

Stadium officials and construction workers had 20 fans ready to pump air into the dome. They started the process with 12 then went to just six. Going forward, only two or three fans will maintain the pressure.

Chief engineer Steve Maki says the process was problem-free.

“I guess I’m a little surprised it went as well as it did, because you always think of what could be the worst thing that could happen,” he said. “So I guess I’m pleasantly surprised that it all went well and I’m glad for it.”

The process to raise the roof was said to take about three hours, but in reality, it only took about 45 minutes.

Now the work begins to get the inside ready. Crews also started to pull back the wood that protected the turf, while the roof was deflated. But for those who work there everyday, after seven months things are starting to feel normal again.

Officials hope to have everything cleaned up and ready to go by Aug. 20, when the Sports Commission will host an open house.

Most of the construction work should be done by Aug. 1, which will trigger a $500,000 bonus for Amherst, N.Y.-based contractor Birdair Inc., the company that designed and installed the original roof. The entire project cost $22.7 million, including $18 million for the roof itself, and it’s covered by the MSFC’s insurance.

The artificial turf was also damaged when the roof broke open and snow poured in, and that might have to be replaced, too, but Maki said that work, if necessary, would be done by Aug. 18.

The Vikings will play their first home preseason game on Aug. 27, assuming the NFL lockout is over.

Vikings vice president for public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley said the team is appreciative of the work.

“Viking football is on the way, and we’re going to get our home-field advantage back,” Bagley said.

The Vikings are seeking a new stadium, but that effort has been stymied in part by the state’s budget deficit and government shutdown.

“We’re going to need to raise revenue to do this, and there really hasn’t been a lot of synergy on how that would happen at this point,” Mondale said. “So we’re waiting. But we’re working. We’re being creative, and we’re being solution-focused. I think there’s still a pretty good shot that we’ll have a good proposal ready for the elected leaders to take a look at — and hopefully in the right timeframe.”

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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