Having discovered a second, adjacent, cracked beam in the new Salesforce Transit Center, the center will remain closed for “at least another week” as inspections continue and engineers attempt to identify the cause of the fissures and next steps.

The two beams span Fremont Street, near the leaning Millennium Tower. And as such, Fremont Street, between Mission and Howard will remain closed as well.

All buses will continue to run from the Temporary Transbay Terminal which is back in action and luckily had yet to be razed.

UPDATE (9/27): A photo of the primary fissure, on the bottom flange of the beam, with fireproofing having been removed for inspection:

UPDATE (9/28): A photo of the second beam fissure:

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    Haha “at least a week”. Let’s say conservatively five years.

  2. Posted by pablito

    Politicians never care what the engineers have to say until the thing falls apart. 🙂 When you are building it they just want it to look pretty.

    And the thing about looking for more problems – you are guaranteed to find them. So cue the outraged BOS comment meetings in October.

    • Posted by Notcom

      And what, exactly, do you think the engineers were saying that politicians didn’t care about? I don’t recall this project being like the Bay Bridge, where there were numerous disagreements about design BEFORE it was started.

      Oh, sure, lots of rationale people, who weren’t immersed in their own self interest, hated this whole thing because they think it’s a giant boondoggle, but that has nothing to do with structural defects.

  3. Posted by c_q

    Not winning a lot of confidence points here…

    Even if they inspect all the beams, and then fix them, what’s to say that it happens again a year from now? will they have to inspect every beam continually for months or years? Or will they just have to reduce the load on the park (remove trees and dirt)?

    • Posted by Outoftown

      I hope the inspections will reveal the reason for the cracked beams and then come up with a solution. But yes, not scoring any points here either 🙁

  4. Posted by another anon

    Wonder if Mr. Benioff’s attorneys have requested a full or partial refund of the $110M naming rights to the Terminal.

    Pretty humiliating to have the Salesforce Transit Center red-tagged at the exact same time as the company’s annual meeting.

    • Posted by Adam

      If Benioff wants his money back I say give it to him and get out of that deal. They gave up the naming rights too cheaply, and allowing for the partial privatization of a public park is not cool in my book. That 110 million didn’t even cover the cost overruns.

      • Posted by JK

        “Partial privatization of a public park” is a good thing. Or it will be turn to another homeless encampment.

      • Posted by stevenj

        The Chronicle’s story on this today listed Benioff’s contractual options for getting out of the deal.

  5. Posted by Dr. House

    It’s almost as though the universe is laughing at our city government’s insane spending choices.

    Just think, with the money wasted on this ridiculous thing, every homeless person in SF could be housed and assigned a personal valet to keep an eye on them, get them food to eat, sweep up their poop and discarded needles when they go outside, etc.

    And yet it’ll be another few years and a few more hundreds of millions of dollars to RE-build it now.

    • Posted by Outoftown

      I think you under estimate the homeless problem and the cost of housing for people that have addictions and no meaningful income.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      In addition to what Outoftown wrote (which I agree with, strongly), I think that if SF housed, fed and swept up after every homeless person in The City, most taxpayers and voters would deem that a much more insane, wasteful spending choice than a public park, even one that now needs a substantial structural retrofit. At least the public park is available to and enjoyable by productive members of society.

  6. Posted by Amewsed

    As long as the Millennium tower gets patch work fixes, this entire area isn’t going to be safe. Which way does the tower lean? Like a falling tree, it would be wise to get out of the way.

    It is ironic how the City is so concerned with seismic safety and compelling all soft story buildings to be retrofitted within strict time frames while being slower than molasses about the tower. Of course from a demo. standpoint, far easier to let an earthquake take them both down but there will be far greater damage.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      There is zero evidence to suggest it is seismically unsafe. Leaning more than predicted =/= unsafe. There are lots of towers downtown that don’t have piles that go down to bedrock and still came out of Loma Prieta basically fine.

      • Posted by uah

        Loma Prieta was a hiccup, but understand what you are saying

    • Posted by stevenj

      Re: seismic safety. Up on the rooftop park there is a plaque noting that the building has two seismic joints running across the width of the building effectively turning it into 3 buildings that move independently in a large quake.

  7. Posted by Dave

    Given the problems with this and the Millennium tower any major tunneling to bring DTX to the TTC has to be suspect. Given all the towers/major buildings in the area of the planned path. If I owned one of those buildings I wouldn’t be happy with the city/state doing major tunnel work near my property, Don’t be surprised if lawsuits are filed to challenge the tunneling of DTX on the basis of it being too much of a risk for workers/residents/tourists in the impacted areas. Better to build a new terminus for DTX at Townsend and call it a day.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      Pretty sure all of the planned tall buildings going up on transbay parcels have piles going down to bedrock.

  8. Posted by don

    Really missing the old Transbay Terminal about now. Went up to the park on this thing a couple of times (each time wondering amidst the beauty just how much does a grove of mature oak trees cost) and felt like a tourist both times. I don’t like feeling like a tourist.

  9. Posted by Serge

    So now not only is it the most expensive bus stop ever built, but it’s now one that can’t be used. Super!

  10. Posted by mapleleaf

    Adamson Associates are the architects of record for this project. They’re a Canadian firm doing a lot of California projects for star architects here.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      Seems to me that what matters for this issue is who the general contractor was.

    • Posted by sf

      Why is this the architect’s fault and not the fault of the steel manufacturer?

      • Posted by Patrick

        It hasn’t been determined if the steel is flawed. Carrying a load heavier than it was designed for could also make the beam crack, in which case it would be a design error.

        • Posted by TBK

          Which would make it a structural engineering error, not the architect’s.

          • Posted by SFer

            No, it would be the steel manufacturer.

          • Posted by TBL

            No, if it was ‘carrying a load heavier than it was designer for’ would make it an engineering error, unless the contractor vastly increased the loads on those beams without the engineers noticing it during inspection. And that would have to be quite the additional load since the safety factor that go into the structural calcs are quite high.

  11. Posted by SFRealist

    The TJPA has had some dodgy leadership. I’m not saying it caused this, but it didn’t inspire confidence.

  12. Posted by JIPB

    Hope they put some heavy duty fall protection over Fremont St. ASAP so it can be reopened. I fear this may take months or years to fix. Also glad we used American steel again – weren’t there similar problems with the American steel on the Bay Bridge?

    • Posted by TBK

      I believe it was Chinese steel on the Bay Bridge as well.

      • Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

        China opens a building as big as Transbay every single day. This anti-China feeling is counter to all available evidence.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Some Chinese steel failed on the Bay Bridge. Some American steel also failed on the Bay Bridge.

        The origin of the steel was never the issue.

        • Posted by Outoftown

          And we don’t know if the steel is the problem at the TTC or is the welding faulty or is the calculated strain on the steal beams wrong? It’s a bit early to call

  13. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: We’ve added a photo of the primary fissure above. The adjacent beam is cracked, but not as dramatically, as well.

    • Posted by Tipster

      A little Bondo automotive filler should fill that right in, Mr. Benioff.

      We’ll have it buffed out and ready for your parties tomorrow night.

      • Posted by Notcom

        Laugh if you will, but we actually had a supplier do this (tho it was an anchor not an I-beam)

        Now that we have a little clearer picture of this – as it were – I’m quite surprised this was discovered: is a 100% inspection (that involves removing the fireproofing) routine, or was this some kind of final check?? or was it a random check and actually struck-out on the first at-bat ( rather ominous if that’s the case)?

        As for the crack itself: since the load carrying of the beam is dependent on the web, not the flange, I would think this is less worrying…not that it should be ignored, of course.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          The fissure was substantial enough to be visible through the fireproofing and wasn’t discovered in any formal inspection or check but rather noticed by a worker installing ceiling tiles.

          • Posted by Notcom

            Thanks for the clarification, even if it does lead to the inference that this was discovered somewhat as a matter of luck (which will prove worrisome if it’s determined to be a critical issue…I don’t doubt there are a countless number – literally – of non-critical cracks in buildings throughout SF)

          • Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

            Anything made of steel is full of cracks. The questions are how big are they, are they interior or surface, and are they growing?

          • Posted by Notcom

            Precisely (anything made of anything really…steel is ductile I’m sure concrete/masonry have even more). It’s too early to panic, and too early to say it’s nothing.

  14. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: We’ve added a photo of the second fissure above.

  15. Posted by Bluntcard

    In all seriousness could it be sinking?

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