San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf are calling for the Bay Area’s regional transit board to assist with the ongoing investigation of what caused two steel beams to crack at the Salesforce Transit Center.

Both Breed and Schaaf penned a joint letter on Thursday asking Executive Director Steve Heminger of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to aid in the investigation and to also evaluate plans for a permanent fix.

The letter says the center is an important transit hub that connects both Oakland and The City and will be the future home of high-speed rail:

“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.”

The letter continued:

“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.”

Right now, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, who is in charge of the transit center, is preparing a shoring system to help alleviate weight from the two cracked beams. Officials say this is only a temporary fix until engineers can send a sample of the cracked beams to a lab and determine the cause.

They can only get a sample of the cracked beams once the shoring system is in place. The TJPA anticipates to have it in place by next Friday, when they also plan to reopen Fremont Street to traffic.

Once the cause is known, officials say they can then determine the permanent fix.

The letter calls for the MTC to engage with an outside firm to review any findings by TJPA and for the MTC to manage and produce the peer review.

The letter ends by saying:

“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.”

The $2.2 billion transit center, which opened to the public on August 11 has been closed since Sept. 25 when construction crews found the cracked beams while installing ceiling tiles, according officials with the TJPA.

Bay Area transit agencies using the new transit center have gone back to the Temporary Transbay Terminal since the closure.

Both the TJPA and MTC have yet to respond to the letter.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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