Long-Delayed Transit Center Awaits Slab Study

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The latest poorly executed public works project is the Silver Spring, Md. transit center in Montgomery County, a three-level multimodel hub. The photo above shows construction as it looked about two years ago. The trouble now concerns the big concrete floor slabs.

In the end, these kinds of projects come down to who is going to eat the extra costs involved. A project that started at $35 million is now said to be over $100 million, but I suspect that the scope increased or changes were made that account for much of the run-up. Let's see.

Meanwhile, the media and the public grow more irritated. The Washington Post's metro staff has been giving it a thorough going over, saying that the project's prime contractor, Foulger-Pratt, and Montgomery County are feuding over all that's gone wrong. Here are some of the unhappy headlines:

KCE Structural engineers is now examining the structure's middle and top level elevated slabs because Montgomery County found that the slab thicknesses  "fall outside the allowable construction tolerances." About a fifth of the slab area involved is less than allowed, the county states in a project progress update posted for this month. Some of the concrete coverage of the rebar and post-tensioning cables is also below allowable cover, the county reports.

The county says it intends to open the big bus-and-rail station center in September and that the structure is 98.5% complete.

ENR's Pam Hunter is looking at the problems and trying to find out more.