Transit Center Fixes May Take Up to Four Years

Half of the concrete on the second floor doesn’t meet the structural specifications, according to Montgomery County officials.

The Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center may be delayed for at least another four years, county officials announced Monday.

The $101 million project was scheduled to open in June 2012, but construction workers discovered the concrete was too thin in August of 2011 on the most significant parts of the building, said County Council President Roger Berliner (D-dist. 1). The structure will serve as a centralized location for taxis, Ride On, Metro buses and the MARC train in Silver Spring. Construction started in September 2008.

The concrete must be structurally sound or it will be susceptible to weather elements, exposing the beams inside and ultimately deteriorate the structure, said David Dise, the director of General Services for the county.
After a briefing Monday with the Montgomery County Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment committee, Berliner plainly said, “we have a problem.”
An investigation by Parsons Brinckerhoff, an engineering and construction company hired by the county, found that the concrete measurements specified by the Washington Metro Transit Authority (WMATA) were not met by Facchina Construction, a La Plata-based company in charge of the concrete work. The company was hired as a sub-contractor by Foulger-Pratt, the general contractor for the project.
“The specifications for the project called for there to be ten inches of concrete. The analysis that has been done [shows] that for significant portions on the second floor and the third floor there’s only eight-inches, eight and a half-inches. In some instances there is actually too much, there’s 11-inches [of concrete],” said Berliner.
Berliner said that this costly error won’t be paid for from taxpayer money because of a clause in the contract with Foulger-Pratt. County officials are awaiting a mediation plan from Foulger-Pratt that will lay out the problem and how it will be paid for. But this will just be the beginning, he added.
“We will find out in about a month the scope of the problem. We will have a more definitive analysis,” said Berliner. “There will be more documentation and we need that documentation in order to begin the process of accessing whether the remediation plan of Foulger and Pratt is acceptable.”
In the meantime, this issue has been strain on the community said County Councilmember Valerie Ervin (D-dist. 5).
“Unfortunately for my constituents in Silver Spring they have been waiting for the transit center to open, this will be the fourth year. From what we were told today, this could go on for another three or four years,” said Ervin.

tanisha January 31, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Montgomery County at it's best! This is ridiculous I see the emphasize of taxpayers not paying for the follies of Pratt//Fachinna so why is any mediation needed? They need to pay for the whole thing period and why not get another sub with experience.
jag January 31, 2012 at 04:43 PM
LOL. Foulger-Pratt said just yesterday (I think) that they believe there's nothing wrong, structurally, and that it'll be an easy fix. Good lord I hope they're right and the notion of this taking another 4 years will be quickly debunked. If there is a serious issue and it takes multiple years to finish, you bet your ass the county is going to sue the crap out of FP and rightly so. I'm actually shocked that FP still has massive signs with their name draped over the side of the project considering how big an embarrassment/PR issue this must be for the company.
John January 31, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Couldn't they get it done faster just by ripping it down and starting over?
Tamika Smith (Editor) January 31, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Hey John: That's an interesting idea but wouldn't it could cost even more money to tear it down and rebuild. Well, once the FP comes back within a month we should have a better idea on how extensive the damage really is.
a. c. smith January 31, 2012 at 08:57 PM
What's with the county. Whenever you build a major structure - or even a minor one - the contract should stipulate constant supervision by the architects and/;or engineers. Just another example of letting developers just go wild without consequences. Whose pockets were lined on this project?


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