More problems possible at Silver Spring Transit Center

March 5, 2013

An engineering report on the troubled Silver Spring Transit Center is four months late because consultants have identified problems beyond previously disclosed issues with the thickness and strength of concrete in some areas of the bus-and-train hub, a Montgomery County Council member said Monday.

Roger Berliner (D-Potomac), chairman of the council’s transportation committee, said the council is scheduled to be briefed next week in closed session about the findings of the report from KCE Structural Engineers. He said council staff members told him that they expect the study, originally due in November, will reveal other problems with the facility. The transit center is more than two years behind schedule and $80 million over its original budget.

Berliner said he did not know specifics of the other issues. But they involve the long-term durability of the building, not its safety, he said.

“Things were constructed in ways they shouldn’t have been constructed,” he said. “But they do not go to the structural integrity of the building.” His comments were first reported Monday evening by WRC (Channel 4).

Construction of the three-tier facility at Wayne Avenue and Colesville Road is nearly complete, but the project has been in turmoil since 2011, when concrete on the upper levels was not poured to the specified thickness and may have been inadequately re­inforced with steel. There also are cracks in the concrete.

The principal contractor on the project is Foulger-Pratt.

David Dise, the county’s general services director, said Monday evening that he wasn’t sure where Berliner got his information. Dise said the KCE report would probably be released this month, but he declined to discuss the findings.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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