Montgomery spends $1.5 million so far on Silver Spring Transit Center report -- Gazette.Net


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Montgomery County has paid more than $1.5 million for a report on how to fix the Silver Spring Transit Center that was expected in January and has yet to arrive, officials said.

Patrick Lacefield, director of the county’s Office of Public Information, said the county has paid $1.535 million of the $1.785 million contracted for KCE Structural Engineering’s investigation and remediation recommendations for the Silver Spring Transit Center.

KCE is a third-party consultant based in Washington, D.C.

The report is expected to detail potential solutions to issues of concrete thickness and cracks in the concrete at the site on the corner of Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring.

Once it is open, the transit center would be a three-story, state-of-the-art transit hub that connects MARC commuter trains, Metro, taxis, and Ride On and intercity buses. Its total cost has risen to more than $112 million, county documents say.

A series of cracks were discovered in the middle and upper levels of the structure and disparities in the thickness of the structure have delayed the project’s opening by more than two years.

Foulger-Pratt Companies, the principal hired to build the transit center, said last month they are still waiting for the report.

KCE Structural Engineering declined to comment.

County Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda said last week that there will be a closed session to discuss potential litigation, followed by an open session to discuss updates with the transit center.

Lacefield said the closed session is tentatively scheduled for March 19, assuming the remedial report has arrived.

Regardless of the status of the report, the council will be briefed in open session about the $7.5 million County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has proposed adding to the six-year Capital Improvement Program, Lacefield said.

The money would go toward more stormwater management measures not in the original scope of the project, utility relocation costs, site improvements, costs to continue operating the bus interim operations site used by Ride On and Metrobus, county staff and consultant costs, and legal costs, according to an email The Gazette obtained last month from the county.

Lacefield said no date has been set for when the report will be completed, but said the county is most concerned with getting the “comprehensive and thorough” report as soon as possible so the county can fix the problems.

Once it is available, the report will be made public on the county’s Department of General Services website.

If there is litigation, Lacefield said that process would run parallel with the remediation, so the project will not be delayed any further. He said the county still hopes to complete the project by fall. It was scheduled to open in June 2011.

krose@gazette.net