Future stadium makes a mess

Tiff Clements

Major construction began last week to realign roads and install sewer and utility lines surrounding the TCF Bank Stadium site.

Lane closures on University Avenue Southeast between Oak Street and Huron Boulevard will continue this week as crews tear out pavement on the south side of the road, preparing to install utility lines.

Stadium project manager Brian Swanson said University-goers can expect lane closures and heavy machinery at work throughout the spring and early summer.

“It’s going to be more of the same for the next couple months,” he said.

Swanson said spring road and infrastructure construction will cost about $10 million.

Current road construction on the eastern edge of campus is part of the realignment of Oak Street, which is scheduled to be routed around the east side of the Station 19 building in July near where the Holman, Poucher and University Press buildings once stood. Huron Boulevard between University Avenue and Oak Street will be removed as well.

Many sidewalks around the construction areas are also closed. According to the stadium construction update from March 30, pedestrians are asked to observe closure signs.

Cleanup of contaminated soils is also scheduled to be completed during this phase of construction.

Swanson said crews are still evaluating the most efficient way to treat the dirt.

Joan Menken, of the Southeast Como Improvement Association, said she hasn’t received any complaints from residents about construction noise, hassle or dirt.

“I think once summer starts and the pile driving and dust and dirt start we’ll hear about it from people,” she said.

Menken, who is a member of the Stadium Area Advisory Group, said the University has been doing a good job of keeping community members informed about construction.

Ginny Quattlebaum said she commutes to campus about once a week for a course at the McNamara Alumni Center.

She said she had to deviate from her normal route Monday to the Huron Boulevard Parking Complex from downtown Minneapolis.

“It’s a bit confusing,” she said. “Now, I have to go down University and double back.”

Quattlebaum, of St. Louis Park, said she’s thinking about finding another route to campus.

Maria Arboleda works in the Station 19 building and said she hasn’t encountered any major problems while driving through the construction.

However, Arboleda said she and her coworkers are concerned about what will happen in the next few months.

“A lot of people are pretty worried about the parking,” Arboleda said.

According to a stadium construction update, parking in the Huron lots will remain completely open until July when major chunks of the lot will close to make way for stadium construction.

The TCF Bank Stadium is scheduled to open for the 2009 season. Its current estimated cost is $288 million.