Iron workers started pulling down the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis this Friday morning in preparation for putting up the first panels of a new roof.
Stretches of the Teflon-coated fiberglass roofing started arriving earlier this week, part of an $18 million replacement project. It was nearly 30 years old when a blizzard deflated the roof on December 12.
Charlie Roberts, with Ironworkers Local 512 said workers who first put up the roof have retired. But he said their skills will be back at work on the project.
"This system is somewhat out of date. I mean this thing was put up in the late 70s, early 80s," Roberts said. "A lot of it is going to be old school. We'll be using rope ladders; ironworkers will be using aerial lifts, but we're also going to have our men up on the existing fabric."
Dome officials say they plan to replace all 106 panels of the roof, and hope to have more than half of the work done by May. But they say it may take until the end of July to finish the whole project to get ready for the Vikings pre-season games this summer.
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission opted to replace the entire roof after engineers said they worried simply repairing torn panels wouldn't be enough to prevent another failure.
The commission hired Birdair to replace the roof. The Amherst, N.Y.-based contractor designed and installed the roof, which has covered the Metrodome since its opening in 1982.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)