Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Long Transit Center Nightmare to Continue (at least) Until Summer

Construction in October 2010. Photo by Flickr user jmlwinder

It's hard to believe that the groundbreaking for the Sarbanes Transit Center occurred during the last presidential campaign.  Over three years later, bus stops for the Metro station are still scattered all over downtown Silver Spring and pedestrians have to walk hither and thither to get to their train. Now comes word that the opening of the center will be postponed until this early-to-mid-summer. Generally, delays in completing construction projects around here are due to some combination of Montgomery County bureaucracy and obstructionism from "The Community", but this latest prolongation is a result of a contractor error:
[David Dise, director of Montgomery County's Department of General Services] partially attributed the most recent delay to an error that resulted in the concrete not being thick enough around the structure's steel reinforcement bars in eight areas of the facility's upper deck, which construction crews realized when the concrete began flaking off over the last several months. The concrete is supposed to protect the steel from bad weather, Dise said.
Were this project being constructed in Guangzhou or Dubai, they'd have probably have had this baby up in six months. Here, we've been forced to deal with the hassle for at least an extra year. This thing has been such a headache, they ought to rename it the Sarbanes-Oxley Transit center (rimshot, please).



26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if Foulger-Pratt will be monetarily penalized for this shit? It's unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

If this project was in Guangzhou or Dubai they would've just slapped a coat of paint on the columns and ignored the problem. One of the reasons why they build structures so fast in those places is their low safety standards.

Sligo said...

Dubai doesn't even have a proper sewage infrastructure. Waste has to be constantly removed from the Burj Khalifa by trucks.

Anonymous said...

Its a concrete monstrosity, who cares when it gets completed. Its not like its going to win any architectural accolades. Its a stylistic abomination. Btw, any word on the supposed revitalization project of City Place?

Sligo said...

Here's the report on City Place: it sucks and will always suck.

Anonymous said...

Anon, who cares what it looks like? People just want the practical aspect of it to begin working already. You want the bus depot glad in gold or something? P.S. down the line there are going to be high rises surrounding it so you won't be able to see much if it anyways.

City Place will get better! We must believe!

Anonymous said...

@Anon1:50. Yes, I want it to be clad in gold. At least I'll know my tax $$$ went to buying gold. Its a friggn concrete structure, should it be this expensive and behind sched?

Anonymous said...

Everyone should be even more angry about this project after looking at the two designs that were rejected, both of which were way better than what we're getting:

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/10434/get-to-know-the-silver-spring-transit-center/

Isayaah Parker said...

So the Transit Center won't open for another decade, the Library will never get built and City Place will continue to suck royally. Got it! (At least we have the Fillmore)

Anonymous said...

Did you hear about the Chinese construction company,Broad Group, that built a 30 story skyscraper in 15 days. Here's the link to the story http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57357524-76/chinese-build-skyscraper-in-just-15-days/
Yeah, so, why is this 3 story concrete monstrosity taking this long?

Anonymous said...

For the "why is it taking so long" crowd - Sure, it likely could have been built in 6 months or less but that would require astronomically higher costs that our government is not willing to fund. That is the key to remember when reading stories about "Chinese building X was built in three weeks". Cutting competition time in half can more than double the cost.

For the "will Foulger-Pratt be penalized" crowd - Absolutely. Not only will the have to pay to fix it, but finishing late will likely cost them significant charges in Liquidated Damages.

Anonymous said...

@Anon7:55 Arent the costs astronomical at this point? Its a 3 story concrete structure with 2 escalators and 2 elevators and some sheets of glass. Thats it, nothing more nothing less. So, how come its taking this long?

Anonymous said...

I'm not so much bothered by the slight delay in construction (what's another few months) as I am by the County's statement that the buildings that were supposed to surround the transit center will be built at a later, unspecified date. Translated that means the area will continue to look like a construction site for a very long time after the transit center opens since they won't be installing any landscape!

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad they discovered the flaking in the concrete before all the offices, people, bus stop indicators and buses were put in place. Total evacuation of a completed brand new Silver Spring Metro hub structure, would have been the "mother" of a "mess" in "that" regard.

Anonymous said...

One of the earlier delays in construction was due to a couple of surprises they found when digging. The corner used to be an auto dealership (and repair shop) back in the old days and apparently they buried some stuff, as well as had some leakages into the soil. I'd just read an article in the paper about their finding hazardous materials when I happened to ride in the Courtesy Van from Sport Chevrolet with an older driver who had worked at that former dealership. He had lots of stories about what went into the ground behind the buildings.

Anonymous said...

Might be the only building project I've ever seen that promises to be as hideous without active construction as it is with.

Anonymous said...

Well, the delay just got longer..... :(

http://www.gazette.net/article/20120113/NEWS/701139507/1007/silver-spring-transit-center-further-delayed&template=gazette

Enough know or remember if the same contractor was responsible for the eerily similar fiasco when the new parking garage was built at Westfield Wheaton a few years back?

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why engineers did not inspect the structure right after the concrete was poured. They should be doing continuous inspections after each major task in the project instead of doing one only once a year.

Anonymous said...

My guess: June 2013.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, the project is now delayed indefinitely:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/silver-spring-transit-center-delayed-indefinitely/2012/01/13/gIQAvBmNxP_story.html

GingerR said...

I too have concerns that the oversight on this project that's gone on too long is so lax.

Pete said...

Do any of you take buses around there? It's such a nightmare with the construction. I regularly just skip it and walk home over a mile, because my bus drops me off so far from the Metro anyway (not that a mile walk is ridiculous, just that it would be much easier with a reasonable bus connection). I honestly don't know what people with handicaps have been doing.

Isayaah Parker said...

Yea I too feel sorry for the people with handicaps who rely on the Metro around Silver Spring. They need to get their act together and finish this thing. This is not a some stadium or skating rink being built, this is something practical that people rely on.

Rebecca said...

This "indefinite delay" is completely unacceptable, but not surprising. Foulger-Pratt has clearly made enough "donations" to Montgomery County officials over the years to buy themselves zero oversight and the freedom to build things that don't even meet industry standards. (WTF? How do you not even meet your own industry standards???) Personally I would prefer to see them just raze the entire thing and start over (the first two designs were infinitely better than the monstrosity we're actually getting), all on Foulger-Pratt's dime.

Anonymous said...

I've worked on this project and I wouldn't be so quick to believe the hype that it was just the concrete problems causing the delay. The bureaucratic and other issues you mentioned have played as much or more of a part in the delays. To those who say it's just a simple concrete structure, it is not. It is more akin to a bridge than a building and it doesn't have the traditional anchor points a bridge would use. The static post tensioned deck with 6' deep beams is unlike almost anything else built in this area.

Anonymous said...

"To those who say it's just a simple concrete structure, it is not."

Agreed Anon 9:47, some people are just stupid and say ignorant things.

Since you worked on it, is there more to the story with the concrete issues/delays?