SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA9)-- Nearly $90 million above original projections, and two-and-a-half years behind an already delayed schedule, the troubled Silver Spring Transit Center may have even more problems than wary commuters have been led to believe.
Montgomery County legislators are scheduled to hear in secret Tuesday, on a $1.7 million dollar consultant's report, examining construction flaws in the three story building, that is currently sitting unused adjacent to the Silver Spring Metro station at Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue.
When the secret meeting is over, legislators are scheduled to decide whether to sink another $7.5 million dollars into the project in order for it to open in September, long past the original projected opening date of 2011. Absent that addition, the unused building has now consumed $112 million of taxpayer funds.
A year ago, the county pointed to problems with the concrete in the center, saying the contractor had made the depth too thick in some places, and too thin in others, possibly undermining the structural integrity of the building.
"The building is safe," said Bryant Foulger, a principal in the construction firm Foulger-Pratt, which is building the center.
"It has the capacity to carry the loads that will be imposed," he said.
The consultant's report is supposed to specify problems with the construction and remedies that will allow the building to safely open.
Foulger told WUSA-9 that the county has refused to respond to suggested fixes his company has made, refusing to let his engineers even meet with county engineers to discuss the problem.
Litigation seems inevitable.
The county hopes the building will be able to open in the fall.