April 29, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Leaky walls and loose panels at the Minnesota Vikings' new $1.1 billion stadium pose health and safety concerns, according to a stadium official who says fixing the problems are a priority.

Zinc panels covering the entire exterior of the building are being tested by engineers and metallurgists, said Rick Evans, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. The Star Tribune reported (http://strib.mn/2pIH12e ) that Evans said Friday he doesn't expect MSFA to pay for any repairs at U.S. Bank Stadium, which has been open only nine months.

The facility's general contractor, M.A. Mortenson, is working on the northwestern facade of the stadium after water seeped through and created puddles in a concourse, a women's bathroom and other locations. The company paid several million dollars last year to replace a moisture barrier after discovering dampness on a protective wall.

''While we certainly wish it were perfect and wanted it to be perfect, we're going to fix it. Mortenson is going to shoulder its responsibility,'' said John Wood, senior vice president at Mortenson.

During a December storm, strong winds caused several zinc panels to break loose, including one panel that fell on the ground. No one was injured. Panels also came loose during stormy weather last summer.

Evans said the panels' durability is a health and safety concern ''at the top of my priority list.''

The Vikings contributed $600 million to build the stadium, while taxpayers covered the rest.

Wood said Mortenson finished reinforcing panels in March and is now focusing on the 27,500-square-foot northwestern face of the building where the water puddles were found. Wood also said the company is installing ''heat trace'' to the lower edge of the wall to prevent icicles from forming.

Icicles were removed from the building to prevent them from falling on pedestrians last winter.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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