Construction costs rise with asbestos discovery at ramp

The cost of a new St. Paul campus parking ramp jumped $300,000 when workers found asbestos buried under the construction site.
Crews working on the $9.6 million, 800-space Gortner Avenue Parking Ramp were set back while removing asbestos that should have been detected months earlier.
“We’re just starting where we should have been a month ago,” said Ken Almer, owners’ representative for the parking ramp.
The buried asbestos fragments came from a boiler building that supplied heat to the St. Paul campus until it was demolished in the 1950s. Since the carcinogenic properties of asbestos weren’t known then, the material was buried along with the rest of the building’s debris.
But asbestos didn’t show up in soil tests before excavation began this fall. Workers missed the tainted soil by several feet when they took samples.
Despite the delay, construction workers hope to have the site completed on schedule by fall 2000. However, the delay could cost more than $300,000 because of the extra work time needed to get the project back on schedule.

Nathan Whalen covers construction and facilities and can be reached at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3237.