The Silver Spring Transit Center project in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Silver Spring, Md., could face another lengthy delay after a recent study recommended strengthening beams and girders and repairing concrete before opening the facility. If recommendations in the report are followed, the transit center, now more than two years behind schedule, could face another eight to 10 months of delay at an estimated cost of more than $7 million.

The study—by a four-person, pro bono independent panel, led by former Lockheed Martin Chairman Norman Augustine—began after recently discovered evidence of surface cracking and spalling of concrete at the 259,000-sq-ft, cast-in-place structure. The panel focused on issues related to exposed conduits and reinforcement linked to concrete cracking and spalling as well as stress levels produced by combined shear and torsion on interior beams and girders.

Montgomery County, Md., County Executive Isiah Leggett, who ordered the report, said it echoes concerns in a previous study led by KCE Structural Engineers, Washington, D.C. The Augustine report "believes remediation on possible beams and torsion issues should be done now," he said in a statement. Leggett noted that, while KCE considered its concerns "a long-term maintenance issue," the Augustine panel believes there could be safety issues, too, and notes 3-in.-thick concrete pieces have fallen from the structure.

Parsons Brinckerhoff, which designed the facility, maintains the transit center is safe as designed. "We will continue to work closely with all involved parties to achieve its successful opening," said Jerry Jannetti, a company vice president. Leggett said the county is involved in discussions with the firm and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority "concerning a binding financial guarantee from Parsons Brinckerhoff to cover any possible future beam and torsion issues that might occur."