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Mike Nowatzki, Published September 29 2009

Demolishing U.S. Bank parking ramp to be 'intricate' process

Demolishing a parking ramp is “not rocket science,” but razing the U.S. Bank ramp in downtown Fargo won’t be a cakewalk, either, the contractor said.

“There’s a lot of intricate removal issues,” said Paul Diederich, president of West Fargo-based Industrial Builders Inc.

The public won’t see a wrecking ball swinging when demolition of the structurally unsound ramp begins Wednesday at the corner of Third Avenue North and Fifth Street.

Rather, the contractor will attach jackhammers and a jaw-like concrete processor to excavators to knock off pieces and crush them, separating concrete from rebar, said Bob Meier, project superintendent for Industrial Builders.

“If you smash it all down with a wrecking ball, then you’ve got a big pile of rubble that you’ve still got to go through,” he said.

Crews removed glass panes from the skyway over the ramp on Monday. That section of skyway, which connects to the Radisson Hotel, will be carefully demolished and rendered out of service until early next year.

Demolition crews will start on the north side of the ramp and work their way south toward the skyway, Meier said.

A security fence was erected around the site Monday to keep the public safe, and traffic will be detoured around the site.

The crushed concrete will be recycled into base material for roads and parking lots, while the steel will go to a salvage yard, Meier said.

The project, which includes replacing the ramp with an asphalt parking lot, should be done by mid-November, Meier said.

Industrial Buildings won the project with a bid of $454,969.

Ron Robson, regional president of US Bank in Fargo, said the demolition won’t displace employees at the downtown branch, and he doesn’t anticipate it to be disruptive.

The bank will reopen its drive-through when the project is done, he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528