Silver Spring Transit Center will open by September, officials say

October 11, 2012

Montgomery County officials said Thursday that the $112 million Silver Spring Transit Center, which has been in limbo for months and is two years behind schedule, will open by September.

The project has been on hold since January after construction workers found problems with the building’s concrete. But at a County Council meeting Thursday, officials said they have made significant progress in determining what went wrong and expect to be able to start fixing the problem in April.

After decades of planning, numerous delays have caused the project to take more than five years to complete. The most recent snag came when the county alleged that construction workers improperly poured concrete on two floors of the building. Foulger-Pratt, the contractor in charge of construction, quickly fired back, saying the building was structurally sound.

After months of finger-pointing, the county and Foulger-Pratt are working collaboratively toward a solution, offciials said. “We are going to work on this together,” David Dise, the county official who oversees the project, said at the hearing.

He said he expects the solution to take about three months to finish, even though details haven’t been finalized. Metro would need to approve the fix before the center could open. The approval process would take a month or two, unless the agency finds additional problems, county officials said.

Floorplan shows concrete installed at the Silver Spring Transit Center

Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas said the agency is reviewing the plans. She declined to comment further.

County Council members said they were relieved that the construction issues didn’t require massive changes to the building.

“There were some dark moments there,” Council member Hans Riemer (D-At Large) said at the hearing. “But it seems like we’re moving forward.”

County officials said they expect to open part of the transit center early — the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Officials said they hope to open the trail by November, Dise said.

When completed, the transit center will bring Metro, MARC, Ride On, taxis and intercity buses to a single site in Silver Spring’s revitalized downtown. County officials have said that the project is critical to relieving traffic congestion in the area. The current price tag is more than three times the original $35 million estimate.

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