News

MI Park and Ride delayed

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Construction of the two story, 448 space parking garage at the North Mercer Park and Ride has come to an abrupt halt except for minor perimeter projects. Completion of the project will be delayed at least six months and is now expected to open in November of this year. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Construction of the two story, 448 space parking garage at the North Mercer Park and Ride has come to an abrupt halt except for minor perimeter projects. Completion of the project will be delayed at least six months and is now expected to open in November of this year.
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A cracked support beam will further delay construction of the North Mercer park and ride for up to six months and cost about $2 million to fix. The cracked beam is a direct result of faulty design, officials say.

A re-design of the project is required. Changes in the design will result in the loss of two of the 450 parking spaces.

While Sound Transit’s board has already approved the new expenditures so construction of the two-story garage may continue, Howard S. Wright Construction crews must wait for the city to approve the proposed design revisions.

Bruce Gray, a spokesperson for Sound Transit, said the organization is also seeking compensation from the design firm, URS Corporation, to cover the $2 million needed to complete the project.

“Because this is a design error we are planning to recoup the costs from the design firm,” Gray said. “Sound Transit made this decision based off an independent, third-party inspection that determined the cracks resulted from design flaws.”

Gray also said the Island’s long awaited park and ride garage will not open for another four to six months.

According to Gray, the cracked beam must be fixed and support walls will be moved to the inside of the structure to prevent additional support failures. The damaged, 100-foot-long beam will not be replaced, nor will it be removed to get fixed. Instead, the cracks will be injected on-site with a high pressure concrete grout mixture and sealed with a high pressure epoxy, Gray said.

Structural problems with the garage were first discovered when construction crews saw cracks in a concrete support beam that holds up the upper deck last September. The workers were immediately evacuated from the job site and a section of North Mercer Way was closed for half a day until engineers determined the structure would not collapse.

After inspecting the cracks over the past few months, engineers found flaws in the design that caused them. Too much pressure was being exerted on the beam because other support structures, called shear walls, were not providing enough support.

A re-design for the garage was submitted to the city on Feb. 27.

Due to the complexity of the structure’s design, city engineers decided the resubmitted design should be evaluated by an expert.

“We’re expediting the permits on this one to get them back and working ASAP,” the city’s building official, Don Cole said.

However, other delays have stalled this project from the beginning. The project, which began a year ago, was originally scheduled for completion this month. Construction was initially planned to begin on Feb. 13, 2006, but did not start until April. In addition to the structural problems discovered in the garage last September, a concrete strike, also slowed the project. The project is now expected to be wrapped up by November.

Construction crews have been able to complete some of the exterior work during the past few weeks. Bus shelters are now installed and much of the sidewalk has been put in place.

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