The problems continue at the over-budget and behind-schedule Montgomery County, Md., Silver Spring Transit Center project.
Concerns over cracking in the concrete on the $120-million transportation hub at the center of Silver Spring's revitalized downtown prompted the county to commission a study last year, led by Washington, D.C.-based KCE Structural Engineers. The study, released in March, found significant design and construction deficiencies and recommended fixes.
However, the nature of how those fixes should be made is under dispute. The county worked with the general contractor on the project, Rockville, Md.-based Foulger-Pratt, New York City-based Parsons Brinckerhoff and others to develop a remediation plan that would include bonding an overlay to some of the existing concrete and fixing some of the cracking. Foulger-Pratt began work on the remediation effort in mid-July.
But at a July 23 public meeting before the county council, Rodrigo Bitar, assistant general manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), said that although WMATA intends to work with the county on a remediation plan, "we need to first understand the root causes of the structure's deficiencies before recommending specific remedies." He said the structure continues to exhibit additional cracking. "We believe that concrete cracking will continue, particularly after the structure is subjected to live loading, namely bus traffic."
The contractor and the county had been at odds over the repair plans for many months. Foulger-Pratt claimed the county shut the construction team out of the project when cracks were discovered. But Foulger-Pratt now says it is fully cooperating with the county on construction and repairs.