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Salesforce Transit Center: TJPA Gives Update On Cracked Steel Beams Problem

San Francisco Transbay Transit Center Reopening Uncertain But Repairs Under Way

The San Francisco-based Transbay Joint Powers Authority (“TJPA”, or the organization established by Maria Ayerdi Kaplan and which serves as owner and operator of what is now called Salesforce Transit Center), issued a press release and a 25-page update report on repairs to the cracked steel beams that were found in two places in the giant facility.

Transbay Transit Center Structure
Transbay Transit Center Structure

First, the 25-page report called “Update on Construction and temporary closure of the Salesforce Transit Center” gives detailed views on the activities done and under way toward eventually repopening the Transit Center.

(On that, reports that the Transit Center will be reopened in six months can’t be independently confirmed by Zennie62Media. At a December 13th meeting of the San Francisco Transportation Authority, TJPA Senior Construction Manager Dennis Turchon said “We can’t put a timeline on it, at this point.”)

The TJPA report shows that the temporary support vertical beams extend from the top-most ceiling of the Transit Center, to the “train box” two stories below street level. That temporary support is called “initial stabilization” and started October 1. The permanent repairs commenced during the last week of November and are marked as “ongoing,” as are monitoring, “peer review” with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and re-installation of the ceilings.

The report lists the “next steps” as:

– Testing underway at LPI labs

– Determine Cause/Design Potential Fixes

– MTC Peer Review Panel approval of recommended fix

– Implement permanent fix

– Open the Facility

– Complete evaluation of other elements, as required, by the Peer Review Panel

Salesforce Transit Center Steel Cracks A “Localized Issue”

Second, the TJPA Press Release issued on the same December 13th day as the San Francisco Transportation Authority meeting was held, reports that..

“The Salesforce Transit Center is temporarily closed. In September 2018, workers
discovered two fissures in steel beams on the bus deck above Fremont Street. After several inspections and out of an abundance of caution, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority temporarily closed the Transit Center. This is a localized issue within the transit center. The TJPA’s contractor installed a multi-level shoring system at Fremont and First streets as testing and monitoring continue. No additional fissures have been found.”

That the TJPA says the problem is a “localized issue within the transit center” means its not due to any outside forces and that it’s only in one small area, and not indicative of a major design problem or any action of the past.

This blogger has speculated that the cause of the steel cracking may have been due to overcapacity problems during the opening day of Salesforce Transit Center, and the following week of wide use of the facility. It’s a bridge, for all practical purposes. I can find no document that shows Salesforce Transit Center’s final design was computer evaluated this year, and with respect to construction change orders and stress from an over-capacity of people in it, bus movements, and other vibrations produced, before it was opened. I’m also concerned that there doesn’t seem to be a regular schedule for inspection of the Transit Center with respect to seismic activity. That’s a unique structure: no other place in the Bay Area is designed to do what it does, with a park on top of it and people moving around. That calls for a unique schedule of care.

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