Silver Spring Transit Center Update (Video)

What will it take to get the Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) open and when?  After the July 23 County Council SSTC update, Rodrigo Bitar, WMATA’s assistant general manager for transit and infrastructure and engineering services, said he does not know. Take a look.

At the County Council meeting on July 23, Bitar read a statement about WMATA’s position on the Silver Spring Transit Center.

You can read Bitar’s entire statement here:

Remarks by Rodrigo Bitar, Assistant General Manager
Status of Silver Spring Transit Center Remediation
Before the Montgomery County Council
July 23, 2013

“Good afternoon and thank you for inviting Metro to today’s Council session. My name is Rodrigo Bitar and I am Metro’s Assistant General Manager for Transit Infrastructure and Engineering Services.

“I appreciate the opportunity to provide comments with regard to on-going discussion and remediation efforts for deficiencies associated with the Silver Spring Transit Center, of which WMATA is an active and regular participant. WMATA wants to operate and maintain the SSTC and to provide the level of service expected by the region. As we work with the County on the remediation efforts, we remain open to any proposed solutions, however we need to first understand the root causes of the structure’s deficiencies before recommending specific remedies.

“Remediation discussions have recently been focused on pour strip deficiencies. It is noted that some resolution of base structure design and construction issues is needed to conclude determination of proper course for pour strip corrections.

“Simply stated, several conditions identified in the Montgomery County commissioned report by KCE dated March 15, 2013 (Page 4 of 100) still need to be addressed. The report identified five major issues associated with the structure:

  • Inherent design issues;
  • Stress /strength issues;
  • Insufficient cover to reinforcing steel and post tension tendons due to incorrect slab thickness
  • Inherent construction and material issues; and
  • Durability and maintenance issues.

“The structure continues to exhibit additional cracking as the recent surveys by the County’s engineer (KCE) has documented. This is of great concern to WMATA as we believe that concrete cracking will continue particularly after the structure is subjected to live loading, namely bus traffic. While it is recognized that much discussion has occurred involving the report findings, closure of the findings should advance prior to, or concurrent with any remediation decisions and or actions.
As stated previously in my last appearance on June 18 before the Council, the items requiring evaluation and remediation are unique, interrelated and somewhat sequential. Collectively, the design and construction deficiencies of the as-built facility provide the basis for a structure that will require an extraordinary amount of maintenance effort to sustain it and approach a service life of its intended fifty(50) years. Regardless of remediation efforts, WMATA does not anticipate that the structure will provide a similar service life.

“Recently, WMATA has received and responded to correspondence regarding actions by the County toward pour strip remediation. Partial repair appears to be a short term approach without due consideration to long term durability and performance of the structure. WMATA will consider partial or full replacement approach; or any other approach which has been thoroughly vetted and demonstrated appropriate for the facility. Specific comments have been provided to the County staff and we look forward to advancing discussion and determining proper resolution for the pour strip deficiencies and others of the transit center.

“Now I would like to expand upon information provided by the County staff to Council in the Progress Update memo dated July 17, 2013. It is indicated final review is underway for two overlay options. WMATA is still expecting a report on base structure conditions and crack repair(s) to date. This will help WMATA ascertain whether the products and approach under review could be compromised due to inherent design and construction conditions of the facility.

“Concerning fire protection and column repairs, it is our understanding that this effort has been concluded. WMATA has requested a formal final submittal be provided for review and comment on findings and conclusions.

“Further, the Progress Update questions the use of slot stress testing to evaluate structural conditions of the as built structure. Given the performance of post tensioning operations during construction, which included a County stop work directive, some validation of effective post tensioning forces is warranted. WMATA considers the potential lack of post-tensioning forces to be a likely contributing factor in the as yet unexplained cracking of the structure. The Slot Stress Test, which WMATA has used elsewhere, provides the best approach to conducting an analysis of this type. WMATA would be receptive to discussing this test or any other means to determine effective post tension forces. As for the accuracy of the tests, WMATA finds the range of accuracy to be within reason for purpose intended for this facility.

“The challenges we face are well rooted within the project history and design. We are faced with challenges associated with the selected design and other related construction deficiencies. I want to reiterate that WMATA remains committed to this project and process, and will continue to participate in the remediation efforts. From early concept development through design and construction, and today; WMATA continues to be engaged with the County on this project. WMATA continues to participate with the County in evaluating findings from engineering reports concerning the structure and associated deficiencies and we will consider plans for a partial pour strip remediation, providing our concerns are addressed.

“WMATA wants to operate and maintain the SSTC and to provide the level of service expected by the region. At the same time, WMATA wants to make sure we will not unnecessarily burden the region with increased maintenance costs. With that goal in mind, we look forward to continued collaboration with the County.

“I would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.”

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