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Another Crack Found at CA Transit Center

Friday, September 28, 2018

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A day after San Francisco’s Transbay Joint Powers Authority shut down its $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center following the discovery of a cracked steel beam, another fissure has been found.

The Authority said in a release on Wednesday (Sept. 26) that inspectors found a second cracked steel beam, this one adjacent to the member that crew initially identified on Tuesday, in the ceiling of the third-level bus deck that supports the 5.4-acre rooftop garden and park.


After the initial crack was found on Tuesday, officials closed the station “out of an abundance of caution” while the Authority worked with contracts and engineers to inspect the structure. Those inspections turned up the additional fissure on an adjacent beam.

Fullmetal2887, CC-BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A day after San Francisco’s Transbay Joint Powers Authority shut down its $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center following the discovery of a cracked steel beam, another fissure has been found.

The TJPA said that it will conduct additional ultrasonic testing at the location to determine the extent of the damage. It also noted that the station will remain closed at least through the end of the week.

"I would like to assure the public, this is a localized issue within the transit center and there is no impact to any adjacent properties,” said Mark Zabeneh, executive director of the TJPA.

“Additionally, our current analysis shows that this is contained within the Fremont Street area. The safety of everyone who visits the Salesforce Transit Center is our highest priority and we will work expeditiously to address and rectify this situation.”

The Authority also says that it is developing a shoring plan with contractors and engineers to relieve loading on the beams in question.

General contractors Webcor and Obayashi managed the center’s construction, which lasted from August 2010 to August 2018. The architect was Pelli Clarke Pelli and Thornton Tomasetti is the structural engineer.

Skanska USA Civil West was the structural steel engineer on the project and the beams in which cracks appeared were manufactured by Herrick Corp. Oregon Iron Works made girders and basket columns, while XKT Engineering fabricated some of the transit center’s “seismic load resisting system.

More Issues

A San Francisco Chronicle article that detailed the Center’s issues report that Webcor/Obayashi is at the center of a related lawsuit filed by Skanska, which won a $189 million contract for the steel work on the Center.

The Chronicle reports that the lawsuit claims poor planning by the general contractor led to significant cost overruns that the company wasn’t compensated for. Moreover, Skanska claims that the lack of information meant that it was unable to “plan and execute the work in such a way as to mitigate damages due to delays and inefficiencies.”

In a court filing, Webcor/Obayashi denied “generally and specifically each and every allegation.”


Tagged categories: Health and safety; Maintenance + Renovation; Mass transit; North America; Public Transit; Safety; Steel; Structural steel

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (9/28/2018, 11:24 AM)

Hmmm...cracking in two adjacent beams is more likely to be something systemic. First thoughts into my mind are that the two beams have a flaw (from the same batch of steel or something in the fabrication process?), the beams were not sized right or the load on them is higher than anticipated (though you'd expect more plastic deformation and signs of stress, rather than cracking this early on). There are certainly other possible causes, but the brain immediately goes "hmmmm" and wonders how big an issue are they dealing with right now.

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