By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A major transformation is underway at the site of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

Steel girders weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds are getting hoisted into place for the new stadium roof. Hundreds of workers are transforming a hole in the ground to the steel skeleton of the Vikings stadium.

“It’s a very complicated process,” said Eric Grenz, a construction executive for Mortenson Construction.

Grenz is helping oversee one of the most carefully choreographed maneuvers of the entire project: lifting and setting the 400,000 pound steel girders that will form the high arc of the stadium roof.

“It’s not as easy as simply coming out here and putting steel in place,” he said. “There’s a very methodical and thought-out process for what steel can go into place, in what areas and what sequence.”

In the next several weeks, workers will put in place a series of roof girders, and start construction of a steel and glass stadium shell, including a massive, 9-story-high stadium doors.

“When those doors are open, you’re going to have a phenomenal view looking into the downtown city,” Grenz said.

From the field level floor, the stadium roof will soar 310 feet.

To get an idea of how high that is: The LaSalle Building in downtown Minneapolis is 30 stories tall; roughly the same distance from the Vikings field to the stadium rooftop.

Outside the construction fences at the Vikings stadium construction site, there’s a long line of gawkers.

Many are impressed.

“I’m in a state of shock,” said Terry Shannon of Minneapolis. “I mean, this is remarkable.”

More than 400 workers are on the job right now. Grenze says that number will top 1,000 by this time next year.

“There’s not a single area on this job site that has no work going on,” he said. “You look at every nook and cranny, there’s something happening.”

The Vikings will play at the University of Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium for the next two years.

Their new Minneapolis stadium is scheduled to open for the 2016 NFL season.

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