MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins, Hennepin County and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, in partnership with M.A. Mortenson Company, today announced that the site clearing process has begun at the location of the new Twins ballpark.

The first phase of building the new Twins ballpark is called site clearing, which is the process of preparing the site for construction of the new ballpark. During site clearing, portions of the existing parking surface will be stripped away to allow for mass excavation. The excavation will include removing approximately two feet, leveling the site and stabilizing it with a bed of gravel. In conjunction with this process, a portion of Third Avenue North between Sixth and Seventh Streets is being closed permanently. In addition, Fifth Street has been closed from Fifth to Third Avenue so the Met Council can re-line an existing brick sewer (built in the 1880s), and crews can relocate the bridge abutment allowing for the realignment of the adjacent railroad tracks. Road closure information is available at the Minnesota Ballpark Authority Web site at www.ballparkauthority.com.

Throughout the site clearing process, there will be numerous large pieces of earth-moving equipment as well as a continuous flow of dump trucks moving in and out of the site, as 100,000 cubic yards of material is removed. Most of the concrete and asphalt will be recycled. In addition, the site will be surveyed and benchmarks established to lay out the perimeter of the buildings and the playing field. Security fencing around the entire site perimeter will also be installed with Mortenson's job office trailers located in the future ballpark's centerfield.

The first phase is to remove Third Avenue, and clear the site for the new ballpark building and playing field. The second phase is to clear the non-ballpark areas of the site for parking structures and utilities.

Additional steps scheduled in the coming months include a sub-contractor open house, the Hennepin County Board's vote on the site's Environmental Impact Statement, issuing of bonds by Hennepin County and the launch of premium seat sales by the ballclub. The official groundbreaking, site excavation and relocation of the BNSF railroad line are planned for August of this year.

For a timeline of activities as well as images of and additional details about the Twins' new ballpark, please visit www.twinsbaseball.com/newballpark.