executive director

Transbay Terminal Yet to Satisfy Peer Review Panel

Hopes for a Transbay Terminal reopening this month faded Tuesday as project officials said they are still working to satisfy the expert peer review panel charged with vouching for the integrity of the project that has been closed since cracks emerged in giant steel girders last year.

The panel has been reviewing nearly 50 types of welded connections on the $2.2 billion project similar to the steel connections for the beams that failed in September. Those connections are repeated hundreds of times throughout the project -- and the panel wants documentation as well as follow-up inspections to verify the contractor complied with proper procedures.

Transbay officials met with the panel Tuesday but the peer review panel is still in the process of getting the information needed before blessing the reopening of the transit center, said Christine Falvey, spokeswoman for the Transbay governing authority. “They are going through final requests and we are still providing information back and forth,” she said.

Randy Rentschler, spokesman for the agency that is overseeing the peer process, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said the panel just wants to be satisfied that the construction methods used on the project pass muster.

“The bottom line is that they have made a very thorough inspection of the building and they are now reviewing the results of those inspections before reaching a final conclusion. We are hopeful to have that conclusion shortly.”

Meanwhile, Transbay’s executive director has blamed the steel contractors Skanska and Herrick for not heeding code requirements that specify that the rough edges of holes cut in those beams be ground smooth to avoid tiny cracks from forming.

The steel contractor insists the beams were constructed to “relevant” code and that the holes were the product of the project’s uniquely complex design.

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