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Transbay Transit Center: Contractor promises June finish date

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“We’re 95, 96 percent of the way there”

The Transbay Transit Center in 2017.
Patricia Chang

When Curbed SF visited the in-progress Transbay Transit Center in 2017, the site’s senior construction manager Dennis Turchon estimated that the mammoth project would be mostly finished by December of that year, with bus service rolling out sometime in March of this year.

Well, it’s March now, but the terminal is not complete. San Francisco Examiner reports that just this year those laboring to complete the multi-billion project have given the city four separate finish dates, with the most recent being June 15.

“We’re 95, 96 percent of the way there,” Jes Pedersen, CEO of construction company Webcor, told the Transbay Joint Powers Authority board at a meeting on Thursday, swearing to the June 15 date when put on the spot by board members.

“June is when it will be life/safety ready,” Pedersen added, meaning that the building will be complete enough that the building inspection deems it fit for everyday human use. “I’m not sure what that means for actual use of the facility, but we’ll turn it over at that point.”

Board member Ed Reiskin (director of transit at SFMTA) noted during the hearing, “With each month that goes by two or three weeks of [schedule] slippage happens...which suggests that each month we’re only getting a week of work done.”

And board member Jeff Gee (a city councilperson from Redwood City representing the peninsula on the board) pointedly asked Pedersen, “Can we tell everyone we’re going to commit to the June 15 date? The financial consequences magnify every time this schedule moves.”

Salvador Llamas, COO of AC Transit, testified that “AC Transit is ready to move in today,” but complained that “the completion date continues to be a moving target, has not been realistic, and lacks transparency”

However, the big hold-up has been the electrical work in the terminal. Project Manager Ron Alameida told the board that roughly half of the 700 workers currently on the site are electricians and that the building got power for the first time last week.

“There’s been an erosion of confidence in what we’ve been tracking,” said Alameida, adding that “a string of key milestones around electrical have not been met” but assuring the board that most of the electrical work will soon be complete.

Alameida also said that “aside from the drag point of the electrical” that other work on the terminal is progressing reliably and promised to schedule a new operating date for buses in the weeks to come.