Six large jacks hold up the weight of the bus deck at the Salesforce Transit Center on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. The jacks sit atop four steel girders and a wooden mat that will be a part of a shoring system that will be installed so that weight will be completely taken off two cracked steel girders that sit above the bus deck. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Breed, Schaaf call for regional agency to review Salesforce Transit Center investigation

Two Bay Area mayors want a second opinion on the cracked steel beams at the Salesforce Transit Center.

Mayor London Breed and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on Thursday jointly called on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Thursday to “assist in evaluating” the cause of those two cracked beams.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, known as the TJPA, is conducting its own analysis, the mayors noted in their joint letter, but the pair said “we believe the only way to ensure” public confidence “is by engaging an outside firm to review and verify any findings,” and for that peer review to be managed by the MTC. The MTC’s role is to help the myriad transportation agencies in the nine-county Bay Area coordinate financial planning and financing.

The $2.2 billion transit center has been closed since last week, along with a block of Fremont Street, after cracks were discovered in two steel beams. Those steel beams were made by Stockton-based Herrick Corp, which also provided the equipment to support the weight of the transit center bus deck.

Six oversized jacks are supporting the cracked beams right now, which will soon be replaced with more long-term support structures at Fremont Street. Officials hope to reopen the street by October 12, officials said.

The TJPA was not immediately available to respond to comment.

Read Breed and Schaaf’s letter in full, below:

We write you today to express our continued concern over the situation at the Transbay Transit Center and to call on your agency to assist in evaluating the cause of the cracked beams and the plans to make repairs.

The Transbay Transit Center provides a crucial transportation link between our two cities. Once high-speed rail and Caltrain are brought to the terminal, it will be the transportation hub for our entire region. The Transit Center is too important to the future and the people of the Bay Area for there to be any uncertainty around its structural soundness.

There are many questions about what might have caused the beams to crack, who might be responsible, and how the beams will be repaired so that the Transit Center can reopen to the public. These questions must be answered quickly and the public needs to trust the answers.

We understand that the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) is conducting its own analysis on the failures in order to develop a plan to make necessary repairs and we encourage that process to continue expeditiously. But we also believe that it is critical to the constituents of our cities and our region that there be confidence in the findings of that analysis. We believe that the only way to ensure this public confidence is by engaging an outside firm to review and verify any findings, and for this peer review to be managed by and produced for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

We respectfully urge the MTC to engage an outside firm as quickly as possible so that we can get down to the bottom of what happened with these beams, feel confident that the problem is isolated, and make the necessary repairs so that the Transbay Transit Center can serve the people of the Bay Area once again.

Sincerely,

London N. Breed, Libby Schaaf

Mayor, City and County of San Francisco

Mayor, City of Oakland

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