County receives report on Silver Spring Transit Center -- Gazette.Net


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County officials finally have in-hand the long-awaited report on the fixes necessary at the Silver Spring Transit Center.

The report from D.C.-based KCE Structural Engineers detailing the future of the delayed Silver Spring Transit Center was delivered to the county Monday more than a month after it was due, officials said.

The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to meet in closed session at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss potential litigation regarding the center, and at 3 p.m. the council is scheduled to discuss the report in open session, Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for the county executive said.

In a separate meeting scheduled for 3:30 p.m., the council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee will discuss the $7.5 million supplemental appropriation that County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) requested for the project.

The groundbreaking for the $112 million project began in 2008, and the center was expected to open in 2011. A series of cracks found in the middle and upper levels of the structure and disparities in the thickness of the structure have delayed the project’s opening by nearly two years. It is now slated to open by fall 2013. The county hired Foulger-Pratt Cos. to build the transit center.

Montgomery County paid $1.535 million of the $1.785 million allocated in the budget for the report from KCE Structural Engineers. The report is expected to outline the remediation needed for the center on the corner of Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring.

Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda said Monday the county is committed to opening the center.

“I hope to see that the problems are minimal. No one’s looking to find problems. If there are problems, what I’m looking for are solutions,” said Berliner, chairman of the county’s T&E Committee.

“It is certainly possible that the reason for the delay in the consultant’s report is that the consultant may have found problems in addition to the concrete,” Berliner said of the report’s delay.

KCE declined to comment on the report or its delay Monday afternoon. Lacefield said there will not be a representative from KCE present at the sessions Tuesday.

David Dise, director for the county’s Department of General Services, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg said Monday he is anxious to see the details in the report.

“I am concerned that it could lead to delays and more costs. It is critical the council gets to the bottom of what happened to understand and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said, adding “basically, what a mess.”

Councilman George L. Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park said Monday afternoon he hopes to hear who is responsible for the delays at the center.

Once it is open, the transit center would be a three-level, state-of-the-art transit hub that connects MARC commuter trains, Metro, taxis, and Ride On and intercity buses.

The report will be made available to the public on the Department of General Services website following the meeting, Lacefield said.

krose@gazette.net