UPDATE: December 13, 2018: Testing on the cracked beams found at the $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center could be complete as soon as Dec. 14, but the new transit center will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
At a meeting this week of the city and county of San Francisco Transportation Authority board, Eric Cordoba, the authority’s deputy director for capital projects, told board members that a full analysis will be ready no sooner than one to two months. He also said the length of time to make necessary repairs is unknown until the analysis is complete and will depend greatly on the lead time for the needed materials. Dennis Turchon, senior construction manager for the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, said during the meeting: “We can't put a timeline on it at this point.”
In a memo Cordoba sent to the board in advance of the meeting, he said the final review on the “root cause” of the beam failure should be ready by early January to present to the authority.
- During a Nov. 8 meeting of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority board of directors, the agency's members called for an inspection of the entire $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center to ensure there are no potential structural issues in addition to the two cracked beams work crews discovered there at the end of September.
- Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the authority, told board members that his team is working to re-open the transit center and rooftop park to the public, but only when they can be sure it is safe to do so. AC Transit (Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District) general manager Michael Hursh said he had to "double underline that if anything else happens, it will be something we can't potentially recover from." Other board members said there must be a review of the rest of the facility and directed Zabaneh to return with a proposed scope of such a review, as well as a timeline.
- Zabaneh confirmed to the board that testing of the beam samples is now underway at testing firm LPI's labs in New York and that the results should be available by the end of this month, allowing the authority and peer review panel to design a repair and come up with a schedule for "implementing the repair and re-opening the facility." Zabaneh added that he was submitting the final environmental documents for the second phase of the project — the downtown rail extension, completion of the transit center train station and a new bus facility — to the Federal Transit Administration.
Although the official results are not expected to be available until the end of this month, one of the members of the peer review panel hired by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to help determine the cause of the beams' fissures offered up a clue as to what the final verdict might be. Mike Engelhardt, a structural engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin and chair of the panel told the San Francisco Chronicle that there doesn't appear to be a design problem with the transit center, even though he stressed that it's too early to make a final determination.
Engelhardt told the Chronicle that from what he's seen of the cracks thus far, they could be a result of "bad steel, a rough spot or other welding defect" that has been subjected to a great deal of stress.
In response to the discovery of the cracked beams, the San Francisco Transportation Authority voted to deny a $9.7 million funding request from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority last month. The TJPA said it needs the money to bring the downtown extension to a 30% design level, but city officials said they would only reconsider granting the request after a thorough review of TJPA's finances and management.