Transit center opening date unclear as study continues

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Photo - The under-construction Silver Spring Transit Center (Examiner file photo)
The under-construction Silver Spring Transit Center (Examiner file photo)
Local,Maryland,Rachel Baye

The discovery of more cracks in the concrete at the Silver Spring Transit Center has prompted a closer examination of the facility, Montgomery County Department of General Services Director David Dise told a room of concerned Silver Spring residents Monday night.

"Where we are right now is continuing our investigations," he said. "What we're doing now is going through a literal square-foot by square-foot examination of both [the second and third] levels."

The county expects to get a report from KCE Structural Engineers, the third consultant brought in to study the structure, in about two months, Dise said, and will be able to move forward in the spring at the earliest, since it is best not to lay concrete in the winter.

"Don't ask me when it's going to open," Dise warned residents. "I don't know the answer to that question."

The $112 million facility, whose opening has already been delayed a full year, is planned to provide connections between MARC, Metrorail and Purple Line trains and hold bus bays, a kiss and ride stop and a taxi stand.

Completion of the three-story facility was put on hold indefinitely when the county found cracked and flaking concrete on the second and third levels earlier this year. Large sections of the concrete was either too thick or too thin, county-commissioned engineering consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff found, raising questions about the facility's structural integrity.

As a result, the structure does not meet county building code requirements, a second Parsons Brinckerhoff analysis found in May.

The project's general contractor, Foulger-Pratt, has disputed the county's claims of structural deficiencies and suggested using a spray-on sealant, a relatively minor fix, to repair the cracks.

The county is in the process of determining the best type of coating to use to seal the cracks it knows about.

Since the error was Foulger-Pratt's, the company's contract requires it to pay for any work needed to fix the error, Dise said.

The county is also in the process of investigating how the errors occurred in the first place.

"We're looking at everything and everyone -- who was where and what happened," said Dise.

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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Rachel Baye

Staff Writer - Education
The Washington Examiner