Structural Problems at Long-Delayed, Over-Budget Transit Center in Silver Spring

By Adam Tuss
|  Monday, Mar 4, 2013  |  Updated 9:17 PM EDT
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News4 transportation reporter Adam Tuss uncovers more problems with the Paul Sarbanes Transit Center project in Silver Spring.

Adam Tuss

News4 transportation reporter Adam Tuss uncovers more problems with the Paul Sarbanes Transit Center project in Silver Spring.

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News4 learned that structural problems with the long-delayed, over-budget Silver Spring transit center extend beyond just the way concrete was poured in the structure. Now concerns about the pillars in the building have surfaced as well.

"There are more issues unfortunately than just the thickness of the concrete. We are talking about pillars," Montgomery County Council member Roger Berliner told News4. "We are talking about a number of things that weren't done the way they should have been done in the first instance."

For a while, there have been concerns about the way the contractor poured the concrete in what is known as the Paul Sarbanes Transit Center -- specifically the thickness of the concrete on the floors.

A new list of problems could be coming. An independent consultant for the county is combing through the building looking for irregularities. A report is expected by the end of the month.

"It has not been one of our best stories for our county or for all those involved," Berliner said.

The building was supposed to be completed in 2010, and the price tag for the mammoth concrete structure now tops $100 million. Furthermore, the building was supposed to be part of the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring, providing connections to buses, taxis MARC and Metro.

Berliner, who heads the county's Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, said the county is gearing up for an involved legal battle with the developer of the project, Foulger-Pratt.

Meanwhile, Foulger-Pratt tells News 4 it believes the building is structurally sound and the whole process has been "extremely frustrating."

"We don't know what the issues are," Foulger-Pratt Managing Principal Bryant Foulger said Monday. "But we are stand-up people. If there is a mistake, we are going to work with the county to fix it."

Those who walk past the idle structure every day wonder what is going on.

"I thought it was supposed to be a bus transfer point, but it's really just kind of there. I haven't seen anybody working on it in months. It's just kind of taking up space," commuter Dan Feeley said.

"I definitely wish it was open,” Imani Cook said. “It's inconvenient walking past it. You have construction everywhere."

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