SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Salesforce Transit Center is indefinitely closed due to a cracked support beam, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority announced Tuesday.
All transit operators will temporarily provide bus service out of the nearby Temporary Transbay Terminal at Howard and Main streets until all inspections are complete.
At an evening news conference, Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, said the beam was discovered by workers installing ceiling panels at around 10 a.m. Tuesday and that the discovery was not part of a routine inspection. The damaged beam was last inspected about one year ago.
"Crews today discovered a fissure in one of the steel beams in the ceiling of the third level Bus Deck on the eastern side of the Salesforce Transit Center near Fremont Street," an earlier statement by the TJPA read.
San Francisco Police Department spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan said just before 5 p.m. the east wing of the Transit Center was being evacuated. The 6-foot-tall beam, said to be made of American steel, was "unpredictable" Zabaneh said.
Zabaneh said it was in everyone's best interest to move transit operations back to the Temporary Transbay Terminal until inspections were complete. It was not clear if the public would be able to access any portions of the building until further notice.
"The safety of everyone who visits the Salesforce Transit Center is our obligation and highest priority," the TJPA statement read. "While this appears to be a localized issue and we have no information that suggests it is widespread, it is our duty to confirm this before we allow public access to the facility."
Earlier, SFPD confirmed they were alerted of possible evacuations near the brand new Transit Center located at 425 Mission Street.
KTVU learned of the potential structural issue involving the cracked beam at the Terminal as officials were waiting on a decision by building engineers on whether or not to shut the building down.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported officials were scrambling Tuesday to determine the severity of the crack and how that would impact their decision.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Muni is rerouting buses. Fremont between Howard and Mission streets are closed. AC Transit said all 27 lines that serve the terminal are being diverted to the old temporary terminal. The evacuation happened at the height of the evening commute. Many commuters were diverted to the old Temporary Transbay Terminal about two blocks away.
This news coincides with the kickoff of Salesforce's annual Dreamforce conference. The tech event attracts 170,000 people from around the world. It began on Tuesday and is scheduled to go through Friday.
Hailed as the Grand Central Station of the West, the $2.2 billion building opened to great fanfare just last month and is said to be able to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake.
“It’s very disappointing that we have to inconvenience the public, but it’s a safety issue and we have to take it seriously," Zabaneh said at the news conference.
He said TJPA hopes to have more information for the public by noon on Wednesday.
ALERT: Expect major traffic and transit delays for tomorrow’s commute into San Francisco. We are sharing this information at their request and also issuing an AC Alert message to Alameda County Residents. Follow @511SFBay for updates. pic.twitter.com/lA32luea9v— Alameda County Sheriff (@ACSOSheriffs) September 26, 2018
This #failsforce blimp presciently hovered above @salesforce Tower a few hours before the company's namesake Transit Center was evacuated and closed indefinitely due to a cracked steel beam. @FreshworksInc, a rival company, pulled the stunt during @salesforce Dreamforce18 pic.twitter.com/f77DDIWTvE— KTVU (@KTVU) September 26, 2018
Traffic now being allowed on 1st. St. approaching the bridge pic.twitter.com/tdC1EmqW0w— Christien Kafton (@CKaftonKTVU) September 26, 2018
1st Street under #TransbayTransitCenter closed after “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 Salesforce Transit Center..” pic.twitter.com/qcuYM2jaz2— Christien Kafton (@CKaftonKTVU) September 26, 2018
UPDATE: Transbay users should be aware that Fremont Street between Howard and Mission streets will be closed. https://t.co/9B9YerhtTE— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) September 25, 2018
ALERT: Effective Immediately! Golden Gate Transit will not be serving the Sales Force Transit Center until further notice. Our last stop Southbound, for routes 101,70,and 30 is Mission before Fremont. First stop in the Northbound direction is at Mission and 1st.— Golden Gate Transit (@GoldenGateBus) September 25, 2018
ATTN: The 5, 5R, 7, 25, 38, and 38R will be resuming service to & from the Temporary Transbay terminal. #SFMuni service will not be going to the Salesforce Transit Center.— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) September 25, 2018
Attention riders: @TJPA has announced closure of @TransitCenterSF .— AC Transit (@rideact) September 25, 2018
AC Transit will divert all 27 Transbay bus lines to the old Temporary Terminal, located at Howard & Beale Streets, until further notice. Be aware that Fremont Street, between Mission & Howard, will also close. pic.twitter.com/6mWupYGm3v