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Vikings to break ground on new stadium Tuesday

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Despite the fact that the Metrodome – for the moment – is still clinging to its spot in downtown Minneapolis, the Minnesota Vikings plan to officially break ground on a new stadium Tuesday.

The groundbreaking "signifies what the project is all about, economic development and business for Minnesota companies and Minnesota workers," Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen told KARE 11.

FOX 9 reports reports that a limited number of tickets will be made available to the public an hour before the 10 a.m. Tuesday ceremony. Beyond the ceremonial shoveling of dirt, crews will begin excavation work in earnest in a far corner of the stadium property, and will haul away dirt nearly every day for the next four months, the station reports.

MPR News reported in its Stadium Watch blog that work at the site actually began early last week, when about a dozen construction workers went through a safety orientation and began putting up fencing and surveying electrical connections.

Demolition of the actual Metrodome stadium is scheduled to begin next month, not long after the Vikings' last home game against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 29.

Crews are expected to start demolition by dismantling the northeast corner of the 31-year-old venue. An animation produced by contractor Mortenson Construction (below) shows how construction of the new facility will be ongoing even as the old stadium is being torn down.

Bits of the old stadium will be up for auction to souvenir hunters.

The Vikings aim to have the new 1.6 million-square-foot, 65,000-seat facility complete by August of 2016. The team will play the next two seasons in TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.

The total cost of the stadium (including costs such as land acquisition and remediation, administrative fees and contractor fees) is expected to top $1 billion, although the actual construction cost is now fixed at $763 million.

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