SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The new, just opened, three block long Salesforce Transit Center in downtown San Francisco is closed for at least the next ten days. The $2.2 billion structure has also caused the closing of Fremont Street, a major commute route.
Tuesday morning, while installing some ceiling panels, workers noticed what appeared to be a big crack in the insulation of one of a huge support beam more than two years after they were installed. Structural engineers were called in and the insulation was stripped away and there is the two and a half foot long crack in the beam's thick steel which lead to another bad surprise.
"Our inspection, last night, indicated that the adjacent beam, to the beam in question also suffered some cracking. Not to the same extent to the beam in question, but still has some cracking. These 60 foot long beams hold the bus deck and upper deck park levels of the Transbay Terminal above Fremont Street," said Transbay Terminal Executive Director Mark Zabaneh.
Though the building has many redundant structural support systems, the structural integrity of these two critical beams has been compromised. But, why did it crack in the first place?
"It could be a fabrication issue, it could be a welding issue, it could be an installation issue and it could be a design issue," said Zabaneh. In simpler words, they have no idea.
Whatever the cause, the contractor will now have to install heavy, temporary shoring supports to hold up the Fremont overcrossing which holds up, the bus deck and park while whatever fix is taking place.
"We have no reason to believe, at this point, whatsoever that this situation exists anywhere but on Fremont Street," said Zabaneh. Since this is earthquake country, could a major quake compromise the building? "At this point, we don't think so, but it is something we have to further investigate," said the Director.
This is not the only major embarrassment. Though the mayor toured the site, she did not answer reporter questions. And. the City Building Inspection Department, which is also up to its neck in this, would not answer our questions either.