It’s official. Metro has taken over the Silver Spring Transit Center.
Metro interim General Manager Jack Requa officially accepted the three-level concrete facility from Montgomery County on Tuesday. The transaction, which was initiated more than a week ago when Montgomery sent Metro a formal letter of transfer, brings the opening of the troubled bus hub closer to happening.
The transit agency has set a Sept. 20 opening date.
The $140-million commuter hub was plagued with construction and design flaws that led to years of delays and millions of dollars in cost overruns. But Montgomery last month declared that the facility was ready for operations and that it had made sure all the problems were addressed and repaired.
Earlier inspections of the project raised concerns about the strength of the concrete and the adequacy of steel supports in some areas of the facility, including persistent cracks in the concrete structure. When the project was finally completed it was $50 million over budget and more than four years behind schedule.
Montgomery County and Metro last week filed a $166-million lawsuit against the companies that designed, built and inspected the transit center. They said the companies’ “collective failure” led to the delays and cost overruns to correct the problems.
Project designer Parsons Brinckerhoff, general contractor Foulger-Pratt and inspection firm Robert B. Balter, responsible for overseeing the quality of the concrete, have said they did nothing wrong.
Although Metro was not responsible for construction of the transit center, it will be charged with its operation. The transit authority has been completing preparations for the opening, training drivers at the facility over the past few weeks. The agency is also working on a plan to notify riders of associated service changes, including the closure of nearby bus stops.
The Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center will offer a link to the Silver Spring Metro and MARC stations and serve thousands of commuters who make transfers in downtown Silver Spring. With 32 bus bays, it will be a hub for Metrobus, Ride-On, MTA commuter buses and other intercity bus services.
Here’s a directory map of the transit center.