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Steel Used on $1.6B Subway Project Questioned

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

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Construction contractors working on San Francisco’s $1.6 billion Central Subway project allegedly put down 3.2 miles of the wrong kind of steel track, according to a letter from the city.

Tutor Perini, the contractor in question, has been ordered by the city to replace the material with higher-quality steel. In the letter, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency alleges that the contractor laid down 17,000 linear feet of “standard strength” steel, violating the project contract with the city. The higher-strength steel was to be used so the rail would last longer before maintenance was necessary.

Contractor Error

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said that the error does not pose a safety issue, but it may result in another delay. Original plans would have had trains passing through the Central Subway on Dec. 26 of this year, but delays have pushed the date back to December 2019.  

The addition of the steel error may add at least another month to the delay; Supervisor Aaron Peskin has called for an investigation into the matter.

According to the letter, Tutor Perini “and its subcontractor Con-Quest Contractors have been installing steel rails that are not in compliance with the specifications,” which require “high-strength, control cooled or vacuum treated carbon steel tee rail.”

SFTMA went on to reject the “non-conforming standard strength rails,” going on to indicate that the contractor must remove the non-conforming rail work “and replace it promptly with Work and Materials that conform to the Contract Documents.”

The contractor must also pay all “claims, costs, losses and damages.”

Delays and Overruns

As it stands, SFMTA is uncertain how much the error will cost the city or the contractor. Officials are looking at whether or not any of the current rail can be used moving forward, however. Tutor Perini also noted that the project would be tens of millions of dollars over budget.

In December 2017, Tutor Perini indicated that the project wouldn't be completed any earlier than 2021, a full year after the city's expected completion date—and three years later than the original plan.

The Central Subway Project is set to expand public transportation in San Francisco through extending the Muni Metro T Third Line through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown.


Tagged categories: Contractors; Government; Infrastructure; Rail; Urban Planning

Comment from john lienert, (5/15/2018, 6:53 AM)

So.........Let me get this straight........S.F. has a multi-Billion dollar project going with (I am quite sure) dozens of over-paid, under-worked, city "inspectors" on-site throughout each day.....AND......none of them thought to check the quality of the steel used for THREE be building inspectors moved over from Fruitvale after Ghost-Ship death trap......GOOD WORK

Comment from peter gibson, (5/16/2018, 1:06 PM)

Yes...typical crazies in SF. No way will the contractor eat it...put him under. He says the City signed off on it. A major issue,but they all missed it. Astounding. Will go to litigation and set back the project and cost mil. more Tutor says it will be over budget. No it wont they want him to cough up! Over his budget...words,words.

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