Inflation hits Twins

Inflation hit home in a couple of ways for the Twins on Friday.

Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer got big raises with their new long-term contracts.

And the price of the new Twins stadium went way up, according to Twins Sports President Jerry Bell, quoted in the Pioneer Press.

Bell won’t say by how much the cost has increased, only that it’s a “significant amount.”

It’s no surprise. Other recent ballpark projects have also gone over budget.

Roger Lewis, a stadium architect, wrote a primer in the Washington Post a few years ago to explain why these things happen once shovels hit dirt.

Field testing reveals unanticipated site conditions. Soil borings may disclose organic fill, clay, rock or groundwater. Undocumented utilities, structures or residual toxic chemicals may lurk below the surface. Hidden structural problems may be uncovered in buildings being renovated. Always expensive to remedy, unforeseen site problems may seriously delay a project and can blow the budget.

Which is what happened downtown. The ballpark site turned out to be Mississippi River bed and they had to drill farther.

Who pays? Bell says the Twins will increase their contribution rather than scale the project back. But Bell still wants to huddle with county officials before being specific.

Elements of the new Yankee Stadium project are also over budget. The Washington Nationals new stadium project is $43 million over budget.

Update Sat. 8:29 The explosion of building costs isn’t affecting just stadium projects. The New York Times reports today…

Costs have jumped for projects as varied as levee construction in New Orleans, Everglades restoration in Florida and huge sewer system upgrades in Atlanta. The reconstruction of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, a $234 million project, has been fast-tracked for completion by December, and state officials say it is too soon to know whether it will come in on budget.

The impact has been felt in different regions at different times, and not every project has been high-profile. In Oregon, high costs have forced the State Department of Transportation to slow the rate at which it upgrades roads and bridges. In Seattle, school building projects were put on a fast track this fall because of fears of cost overruns.

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