March 30, 2013

As a retired architect, having spent the final 15 years of my practice on large-scale project management and forensic architecture, I was dumbstruck by the facts summarized in the March 27 editorial about the Silver Spring transit center [“Unsafe, unsound and unusable”]. The problems pointed out could have been easily prevented.

Before concrete is poured at a project site, it is tested for consistency. Also, prior to pouring, concrete samples are made and subjected to load tests to see if the concrete is as strong as specified. During that process, any errors in the concrete’s formula would be observable and, therefore, the concrete would be rejected.

Now, let’s move to the project site. With respect to the concrete being too thin in some places and too thick in others, the dumbest of county field inspectors (and the concrete subcontractor) should have spotted this fundamental error and ordered the concrete forming to be corrected and, if necessary, redone in accordance with the concrete design, as shown in the working drawings and specified by the structural engineer.

From your account, it is impossible to determine who is not responsible for the Silver Spring transit center construction fiasco.

Laurence M. Hutner Jr., Palmyra, Va.

The Silver Spring community is discouraged and massively inconvenienced by the nightmare that is the transit center.

Contractor Foulger-Pratt understandably removed its sign from the site. I recommend that the “Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center” marker also be taken down. This fine U.S. senator deserves better recognition than to be linked to such an albatross.

Ellen Sittenfeld Battistelli, Silver Spring

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