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Report: Silver Spring Transit Center problems were known in 2010

Wednesday - 5/21/2014, 4:42am  ET

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A report by the Montgomery County inspector general says that problems were found in 2010 "but were not effectively addressed." (WTOP/Ari Ashe)

WASHINGTON -- The latest analysis of the troubled Silver Spring Transit Center says that problems in design and construction were apparent as early as 2010 "but were not effectively addressed."

Montgomery County Inspector General Edward Blansitt says the purpose of this latest analysis was to identify not just what went wrong, but how and why. The cost of the project ballooned as the flaws resulted in delays for repairs.

The analysis by inspector general's office estimates the cost was $35 million in 2004. By 2013, the estimated cost ballooned to $104 million and now stands at roughly $120 million.

The analysis finds that by November 2010, a number of signs of trouble emerged, including:

  • Cracks in concrete slabs and girders;
  • Concrete that broke away from the finished drive surface (spalling), revealing post-tensioned tendons and evidencing that an insufficient concrete cover had been placed over the tendons;
  • Issues related to post-tensioned tendon elongations and tensioning;
  • Reinforcing bars that were incorrectly installed or partially omitted in a slab pour.

The report recommends that an objective, third-party peer review should be sought by an outside expert for future projects with complex designs.

In an emailed response to the inspector general's report, David Dise, director of the Montgomery County Department of General Services says:

"While this added oversight is useful, by itself this measure would not have detected or prevented the major flaws in this project any sooner than the County's and WMATA's own efforts. In fact, 'peer review' of the Transit Center design was performed in that WMATA reviewed and approved the entire design independent of the County."

Also, Dise repeats statements he's made before the Montgomery County Council: that private contractors responsible for flaws will be held responsible for the cost of repair, not county taxpayers. But in previous comments to reporters, Dise has conceded that contractors will likely challenge the county's position in court.

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WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

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