County turning to latex concrete to fix Silver Spring Transit Center -- Gazette.Net


It looks like latex-modified concrete is going to be the fix for the concrete problems at the Silver Spring Transit Center.

A working group tasked with finding a way to get the troubled $120 million transit hub open for business has decided Montgomery County will use the latex-modified concrete as the overlay material to make the repairs, according to a letter Thursday from David Dise, director of general services, to County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and Council President Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring.

Engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff prepared overlay plans and details for the fix. These plans were reviewed by the working group at its Aug. 29 meeting and the group made a final decision on the remediation plan Friday. The County Council is scheduled to get an update on the plans Tuesday.

Latex-modified concrete is a durable, fast-curing system that will be used to address areas where the concrete thicknesses vary too much, Dise said. The cracks will be repaired and the modified concrete will be used as a uniform overlay.

The work, which will include roughing up the concrete surfaces so the overlay will adhere, is expected to take about six weeks, according to Dise. Final designs for the work are expected to be submitted next week. Then Foulger-Pratt of Rockville, the project’s general contractor, will need to apply for permits for the work.

The job won’t be cheap. Dise said the modified concrete is more expensive than conventional concrete because it has twice its strength, plus a latex component.

So far there is no cost estimate for the remediation.

“That is not our problem,” Dise said of the added expense. “We maintain the county will not bear this cost.”

The $120 million facility, at the corner of Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring, was slated to open in 2011, but a series of cracks found in the structure and disparities in the thickness of the concrete have delayed the project’s opening by two years.

Concrete subcontractor Facchina Construction of La Plata, hired by Foulger-Pratt to work on the project, may end up doing the remediation work, Dise said. Foulger-Pratt will be responsible for hiring the subcontractor for the concrete overlay job and could choose to use Facchina or another contractor, he said.

“Facchina is a good contractor. They do concrete structures across the county. There were mistakes made here, but that does not mean they make mistakes everywhere,” Dise said. “I would have no problem if they went with Facchina on this project.”

Navarro said Friday she is looking forward to hearing an anticipated opening date for the transit center.

“For us, all along the basic question is when will it be remediated and open to the public,” she said. “We requested an ongoing briefing to be apprised of the timeline and how we are progressing in that ultimate goal. That is the big question — the opening date.”

Also still undetermined is how much the structure will cost to maintain and operate — the biggest hurdle in getting the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to accept the project.

KCE, the county’s consultant for the repair job, is continuing its assessment of potential extraordinary maintenance costs of the remediated facility, according to Dise’s letter.

This will be compared with the operating and maintenance cost anticipated by WMATA in its original 2004 estimate. According to a September 2004 estimate, WMATA expected to pay $2.2 million to perform annual maintenance at the transit center. WMATA also planned a $1 million allowance for rehabilitation of the center at 15-year intervals.

WMATA is interested in identifying what, if any, additional costs may be anticipated beyond that original estimate, according to Dise’s letter.

A WMATA official did not return a request for comment Friday.