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Helmut Schmidt, Published August 10 2009

U.S. Bank closes drive-through in downtown Fargo due to ramp concerns

FARGO- U.S. Bank temporarily closed its downtown Fargo drive-through bank Monday, shortly after a Minneapolis-based concrete expert recommended that all activity at the city-owned U.S. Bank parking ramp be discontinued immediately.

“We were advised by the city of Fargo and engineers inspecting the parking ramp that any activity on, or under the ramp, should be stopped, until they can confirm its safety,” said Ron Robson, president of U.S. Bank in Fargo.

Tom Downs of BKBM offered two alternatives after his inspection of the four-story ramp at 505 2nd Ave. N., an e-mail sent by city Senior Planner Bob Stein said.

Downs, an engineer who specializes in parking structure repair and maintenance, said the city should either close and demolish the building, or reinforce the circular center part of the ramp to eliminate the danger of collapse.

Reinforcing the center part of the ramp is considered an interim alternative that would allow most of the main level of the structure to be used, including the U.S. Bank drive-through, Stein’s e-mail stated.

The ramp was closed to parking last Wednesday on the recommendation of local structural engineer Jim Heyer, following an annual inspection.

U.S. Bank said customers can continue to visit the lobby at 505 N. 2nd Ave., and that it will let customers know their banking options when a decision on the ramp is made by the city.