SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Workers on Friday continued to lay the groundwork for the bracing of the cracked steel support beams found in the new Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco.
The two cracked steel support beams were found on the 3rd level bus deck in an area over Fremont Street. Those beams support the rooftop park that is one of the more unique features of the transit center.
Through a message left on the media hotline, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority said, “Crews removed ceiling panels and light fixtures and utilities, and are relocating some of Muni’s overhead contact system that services electric buses so that shoring can begin.”
In the meantime, Muni and AC Transit buses will continue to operate out of the temporary Transbay Terminal.
SFMTA spokesperson Erica Kato said falling back into the old routine has gone well.
“We were really easily able to move service over there,” said Kato. “People have been used to going there for over 8 years, so it was a pretty easy transition and we really haven’t seen a lot of confused people walking around.”
But just in case commuters need guidance, MTA ambassadors are saturating the area.
“We have 25 parking control officers in 12 key zones, and they’re helping move the flow of traffic, getting cars, getting buses through,” said Kato. “We have bus inspectors as well out and about. And we do have staff members out on key corners directing people to the correct location to grab their bus.”
According to construction records, both beams were inspected in July of 2016 and no cracks were found.
“There’s inspections, there’s observations by the structural engineer, inspections in general just to make sure it’s being built according to the plans,” said structural engineer David Bonowitz. “Sometimes what we call special inspections where the actual construction has to be observed by a special inspector on site.”
The first crack was discovered in a steel beam on the third-level bus deck above Fremont Street on Tuesday by workers installing ceiling panels. The discovery caused TJPA officials to abruptly close the $2.2 billion facility and as well as the portion of Fremont Street located directly below the bus deck, between Howard and Mission streets.
As engineers were inspecting the first crack, about 2 feet 6 inches long, they found a second, smaller one on a parallel steel beam, which also runs across Fremont Street.
No new cracks have been discovered since the second cracked beam was found Wednesday.
According to Dennis Turchon, the TJPA’s senior construction manager, the steel beams used to construct the center were supplied by at least seven different manufacturers, all located in the U.S.
Stockton, California-based Herrick Corp. provided the steel in the cracking beams and about a third of all the steel used on the project. Construction of the transit terminal was part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Buy America” program.
Officials hope to start installing the shoring equipment to support the cracked beams this weekend. The transit center is set to remained closed through next week, but there is a chance that Fremont Street may reopen in time for the Monday morning commute..