Built in 1982, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis has had a glorious career, hosting many famous events including a Super Bowl, two World Series, a major league baseball All-Star game and two college Final Four basketball playoffs.
Located in downtown Minneapolis, the Metrodome was a concrete structure with a fiberglass fabric roof – self-supported with some help from air pressure. Thirty-six steel cables, each 3.5 inches in diameter, anchored the fabric in place from the top. Inside, the structure supported three seating levels, holding 64,000 people.
Frattalone Companies was contracted by Ames Construction – a subcontractor to Mortenson Construction, the project’s main contractor – to bring down the Metrodome in January this year. Ames has a $36-million contract with Mortenson for the project’s excavation and demolition work.
Bigger and better
A new and larger $975 million stadium is being built simultaneously with the demolition of the old stadium, which took just four months to bring down and remove the remains using Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) machines. In temperatures below minus 7oC (20oF), the work took place on the same site – so as one section of the Metrodome was demolished, foundation work for the new facility began.
“We cleaned the building out first, removing materials that could not be recycled or transported to landfill,” says Chris Niemand, Frattalone’s project manager. “It took about three weeks to remove a loading dock from the facility and while that was happening, crews prepared the ring beam for removal. Small controlled explosive charges were used to sever each of the cables from their anchors, and the fabric roof fell safely to the ground.”
Bringing down the entire structure with explosives was considered, but the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority ruled it out because of the impact it could have on the surrounding community, including a hospital. For this demolition project, Frattalone bought a new Volvo EC480D-Series high-reach excavator and a selection of demolition attachments.
“The Volvo high reach excavator has been used for multiple projects since we started the demolition,” says Niemand. “We brought it in immediately once the building was emptied to help prepare for the mass demolition process. The excavator machine was able to pull down all the chairs and debris to field level. It was a concrete stadium so it would not have been easy to get up there and clean away all the old concrete.”
Frattalone’s other Volvo equipment consists of two A40 D-Series articulated haulers, two L110 E-Series wheel loaders, two L90 D-Series and E-Series wheel loaders, one L250 G-Series wheel loader, and two Volvo excavators – an EC240CL and an EC360BL. “I think Volvo’s loaders are second to none,” says Tony Frattalone, president of the company. “One of our L90 loaders has clocked 18,000 hours and our other L90 has clocked around 15,000 hours.”
“We bought the Volvo EC480D for three reasons,” adds Frattalone. “First, it’s versatile – in a matter of one hour, workers can exchange the high-reach demolition boom for a digging boom to prepare the machine for excavation work so we could maintain a profitable piece of equipment that doesn’t have any downtime. The second is Volvo supplies the entire machine, including the high-reach boom and makes parts for it. Having a one-stop shop for me was important as other manufacturers didn’t allow it. Thirdly, it was cost effective compared to other brands.”
Frattalone Companies was established in 1970 by Frank Frattalone. Today his son, Tony Frattalone, manages field operations and equipment but started out as a machine operator. Nick Frattalone, his brother, handles the business side of the firm. The company specializes in grading and excavation work, demolition, sewer and water utility work. It also owns Dawnway Landfill in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, which accepts non-hazardous debris from construction, demolition and remodeling projects.
About 80% of the structure’s concrete, steel and other materials from the Metrodome can be recycled and reused as road base or concrete aggregate. In addition, 4,000 tonnes of recyclable steel will be salvaged and recycled.
Once the seats were removed, Frattalone used the Volvo high reach machine to remove the stadium’s club-level suites. “The machine was positioned inside the building to pull the suites and building materials down,” says Niemand. “We could have done this in other ways, but falling debris was a safety issue. The machine allowed us to do the job in a safe way.”
After the roof came down the company focused on removing different structural components 23 meters (75ft) off the ground, including precast concrete beams.
“Once exposed, the high-reach worked at ground level to demolish 10 meter (30ft) walls,” says Niemand. “The operator worked from a safe distance and then our general purpose excavators and loaders removed the rest of the structure and debris. The Volvo high-reach is not only safer than other demolition methods, it is more precise than a crane and wrecking ball.”
“The fuel economy of the Volvo EC480D high reach excavator and our other Volvo machines is exceptional,” says Tony Frattalone. “Fuel prices have gone up so it definitely helps. We have a great working relationship with Nuss Truck and Equipment – Volvo CE’s local dealer. They supply us with the parts and support that is needed out in the field, which makes it a lot easier decision to purchase Volvo equipment.”