MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Workers will begin replacing the Metrodome's storm-damaged roof Friday.

New fabric panels will be delivered to the downtown Minneapolis stadium, and Birdair Inc. will begin by replacing three diamond-shaped panels that ruptured during a December snowstorm.

Work is expected to continue through July. The project is scheduled to be completed Aug. 1, in time for the Minnesota Vikings' preseason.

The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission opted to replace the entire roof after engineers said they worried simply repairing torn panels wouldn't be enough to prevent another failure.

The commission hired Birdair to replace the roof. The Amherst, N.Y.-based contractor designed and installed the roof, which has covered the Metrodome since its opening in 1982.

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