Heavy Snow Collapses Metrodome's Inflatable Roof
DON GONYEA, Host:
Minnesota got hammered by a blizzard on Saturday, and even by Minnesota's standards, it was severe. The 17 inches of snow forced the Twin City's airport, which is always ready for snow, to close for the first time in years. It was also too much for the inflatable roof at the Metrodome, the big indoor stadium. It collapsed under the weight. That means yesterday's game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants will be played tonight in Detroit. Matt Sepic of Minnesota Public Radio reports.
MATT SEPIC: Facilities manager Steve Maki says crews were unable to clear the snow from the roof on Saturday. And it got too windy to keep working. While the stadium now looks like an empty hot-air balloon, Maki says there's no structural damage. And a repair will essentially involve ironing on a giant patch.
SEPIC: My understanding, they'll bring in a small crane and a crane bucket and likely remove some fabric and reinstall new.
SEPIC: That's what workers did in 1983, the last time the Metrodome collapsed under heavy snow. But Maki would not estimate how long the work will take. Meanwhile the incident has renewed calls for a new football stadium - something the Vikings have wanted for years. Cory Merrifield is with a group lobbying for one. He says had the roof fallen during a game, it could have been fatal. Merrifield says political leaders should apply lessons from the 2007 I-35W bridge collapse to this incident.
SEPIC: This stadium is nearly 30 years old, it's one of the oldest in the NFL. And clearly it's on its last legs and it certainly can't support the team or the other 200 plus events that go on there every year for the general public.
SEPIC: For their part the Vikings will not say how the collapse may affect their wishes for a new, mostly publicly-financed stadium. But with Minnesota facing a $6.2 billion budget deficit, lawmakers could just say patch it and hope it holds a few more years. For NPR news, I'm Matt Sepic in St. Paul.
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