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Transbay Terminal Director: 'The Building Is Under Warranty'

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- When asked who would be responsible for the cost of fixing the now shuttered $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center, the director in charge Tuesday said the damaged building was 'under warranty' and public dollars will not be used to fix it.

Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Mark Zabaneh met with reporters as work crews shored up a section of the terminal where two cracked beams were discovered.

The cracked beams were found on Sept. 25 running parallel along the roof of the bus deck that goes over Fremont Street between Mission and Howard streets, prompting TJPA officials to abruptly close the city's newest gem to its public transportation system as well as the part of Fremont Street underneath the bus deck.

"The building is under warranty," Zabaneh said. "Nothing is completed. It's under warranty. The builder is responsible for it. Once we know what the result is, what the cause is, responsibility and allocation [of cost] will be distributed to the responsible parties."

When asked if the closure is an embarrassment for the city, Zabaneh said: "I'm very disappointed for myself, for my agency and for the city. It's an emergency situation as far as I'm concerned. We are going to jump in and fix it, and then we will figure out who pays for what."

Fremont Street, a vital traffic artery South of Market, will remain closed until at Oct. 12th while crews work to shore up the building that spans over it. Once the shoring up process is completed, work on determining a cause can begin.

"At that point in time, we will be able to take a sample of the steel girder, take it to a lab and do various tests and two weeks from Oct. 12th we should be able to know that the cause is," he said. "Once the cause is known, we will be able to affect a design and a fix."

Until the cause is determined and fixed, Zabaneh said, buses will not use the facility.

"We will not be allowing buses until the final fix is done," he said. "But there is the possibility of opening the park once the cause is known."

According to Bruce Gibbons, managing principal with Thornton Tomasetti, engineers will cut out a portion of the steel flange to test it. Gibbons assured TJPA Board of Directors at their Tuesday morning meeting that cracks in steel can be fixed in place, without having to remove or replace the entire beam.

"This is not the first time that steel has cracked," he said. "But in each case, the factors could be different, which is why there is the need to look at all the factors to determine what the cause might've been."

Buses currently are operating from the Temporary Transbay Terminal at Howard and Main streets in San Francisco, where they operated from before the transit center opened.

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