San Francisco

Cracks in Steel Beams Shut Down San Francisco's Brand New $2.2B Transbay Transit Center

"The behavior of the beam is unpredictable," executive director Mark Zabaneh said

San Francisco's brand new Transbay Transit Center will remain closed at least until next week after crews on Wednesday discovered a second crack in one of the steel beams adjacent to another beam where crews discovered the first crack on Tuesday.

The executive director of the $2.26 billion transit center, Mark Zabaneh, said at a news conference Wednesday that an "adjacent beam to the beam in question" sustained some cracking, though not to the same extent to the crack discovered on Tuesday.

Zabaneh said the cracks are localized to the East side of the building on the Fremont Street section of the center.

"We have no reason to believe at this point whatsoever that the situation is anywhere but the Fremont Street, but again, out of abundance of caution and for public safety, we're going to expand our investigation," Zabaneh said.

The Grand Hall is the main entrance to the Salesforce Transit Center. Public art adorns the floor and the windows above, as you walk under the giant skylight. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
The structure supporting the skylight in the Grand Hall goes all the way down to the basement, bringing daylight to what planners hope will one day be a bustling train station. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Two stories beneath the Transit Center, the “train box” has room for six tracks surrounding three platforms — but right now, it’s just a concrete box, while planners search for funding to extend Caltrain and finish California’s high speed rail project. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Though there are no trains yet, transit planners say they’ve saved tax dollars by making the Transit Center “rail ready.” This is the spot where tracks could one day curve southward under 2nd Street to connect with today’s existing Caltrain tracks. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
With no trains yet, the $2 billion Transit Center has been called the world’s most expensive bus terminal. But commuters say they love the clean, covered platforms where buses arrive on a dedicated ramp from the Bay Bridge, instead of congested streets. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
For many, the highlight of the Transit Center will be its sprawling rooftop park, spanning 4 city blocks, in a neighborhood that was sorely lacking green space. BlackRock, IBM, Slack, Trulia and Deloitte are just a few of the offices with park views. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Far more than just open space, Salesforce Park has a packed schedule of vendors and free programs keeping it lively. Yoga, art, books, games, hot dogs and beer are among the initial offerings. Planners say activities help keep the park safe and clean. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Mayor London Breed visited the four-story transit center Wednesday to meet with Transbay Joint Powers Authority leaders and city department heads to discuss the investigation into the crack in a support beam.

"We must have a thorough and transparent investigation to determine the causes, severity, and impacts of this discovery, as well as a plan to re-open the Transit Center as soon as it is safe to do so," Breed said.

Buses will be diverted to the old Temporary Terminal, located at Howard and Beale streets. Transbay users should be aware Fremont Street between Howard and Mission streets is also closed, according to the SFMTA.

Crack in Support Beam Prompts Closure of San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center

Workers discovered the first crack early Tuesday while installing roofing tiles at the Salesforce Transit Center, Zabaneh said. Engineers spent the day inspecting the damage, and Zabaneh said they decided to shut down the station around 5 p.m. Tuesday, just as the afternoon rush hour started.

Zabaneh said the cause and the extent of the damage were unknown and the decision to close the terminal was made out of an "abundance of caution."

"The behavior of the beam is unpredictable," Zabaneh said.

He said structural engineers would continue inspecting the building Wednesday to assess whether it is safe for people to return.

It is not clear at this time when officials will provide an update on the status of the transit center.

Two weeks after its heavily attended grand opening, San Francisco’s new Salesforce Transit Center is still packed — only now, it’s packed with people waiting for buses.

The TJPA said in a statement that crews discovered a fissure in one of the steel beams in the ceiling of the third level bus deck on the eastern side of the transit center, which was named the Salesforce Transit Center after tech giant Salesforce bought its naming rights.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the TJPA, after conferring with design engineers and contractors will temporarily close the transit center as the agency works with Webcor/Obayashu and structural engineers Thornton Tomasetti to investigate and repair this issue and conduct an exhaustive inspection of all steel beams throughout the transit center. Inspections have begun," the TJPA said in their statement.

“It’s the center that will take us into the future:” For residents in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, the Salesforce Transit Center is more than just a fancy bus stop. Some say the rooftop park has transformed the neighborhood – in a good way.

There are several transit and traffic impacts due to the center's temporary closure as well as the closure of Fremont Street between Mission and Howard, particularly during peak commute hours, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority said.

Motorists are asked to avoid driving downtown, transit riders are encouraged to allow extra time for their commute and call 511 or go to to get up-to-the-minute transit information.

AC Transit Lines will drop off and depart from the previously used bus bays at the temporary Transbay Terminal. Routes affected are: B, C, CB, E, F, FS, G, H, J, L, LA, LC, NL, NX, NXC, NX1, NX2, NX3, NX4, O, OX, P, S, SB, V, W, Z.

Muni routes also will drop off and depart from the temporary Transbay Terminal. Affected routes include: 5 Fulton, 5R Fulton Rapid (on Howard at Main), 7 Haight/Noriega (on Main at Howard), 25 Treasure Island (on Beale and Folsom), 38 Geary, 38 Geary Rapid (On Main at Howard).

For the latest details on street closures and bus routes affected, go to the SFMTA website.

Transbay Transit: Then u0026 Now

Nearly two decades in the making, the transit center opened in August, connecting thousands of Bay Area residents to the city's downtown area.

Stretching four city blocks, the transit center boasts pop-up retail shops, art displays, shopping, dining and a 5.4-acre rooftop public park. The next phase of construction, the $4 billion Downtown Extension Project, will connect 1.3 miles of underground rail between the center and the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets. That project is expected to be completed in 2028.

Transit agencies currently operating at the transit center include Alameda-Contra Costa Transit, Greyhound, San Mateo County Transit District, the Western Contra Costa Transit Authority, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the outside bus plaza in June.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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