Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) announced Tuesday that after a complete review of the $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center structure in San Francisco, the transportation hub and rooftop park will reopen on July 1. The transit center has been closed since September when work crews found fissures in two steel beams in the bus deck area.
Since the closing, TJPA officials and the experts they hired determined the cause of the cracks, devised and executed a repair plan, inspected the entire building for additional defects and came to the conclusion that there are no further structural or other life safety issues. A peer review panel assembled by the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission also conducted an independent review of the repairs and structure and agreed that it is safe to reopen the facility.
The transit center and 5.4-acre park on the roof will open July 1, and local bus service will begin shortly thereafter. Full, regional bus service will not restart until later in the summer.
The transit center was open approximately one month before the defective steel beams were discovered.
The peer review panel will also determine who is at fault for the cracked beams and will bear the full cost of the repairs and closure. The general opinion among experts is that the cracks developed because workers did not grind the areas around weld access holes, and the ordered fix was to sandwich cracked areas of the beams with bolted steel cover plates at the areas of fracture.
After the TJPA's March meeting, TJPA executive director Mark Zabaneh said that the issue with the weld access holes had slipped through four levels of inspections. Skanska USA was the structural steel contractor for the project and, in response to Zabaneh's comments, claimed that the authority was ignoring that design also played a role.
Skanska representatives said the company's crews and steel fabricators executed the work at the transit center according to specifications and as per instructions from Thornton Tomasetti, the project's engineer. Skanska added that the TJPA had made “incorrect statements” regarding the girder inspection process and the extent of its own responsibility.
Before moving on to the next phase of transit center development, which is slated to include rail service, Zabaneh requested a peer review of the authority's management and oversight practices from the American Public Transportation Association.
The group found that, overall, the authority did good work building and bringing the Salesforce facility on line but that it needed to bring more positions into the agency rather than relying on outside consultants; consider all of the available project delivery methods for future work; and rethink the scope of the rail project since the high-speed component might be off the table after California Gov. Gavin Newsom scaled it back to one Central Valley segment for the foreseeable future.