Silver Spring Transit Center hit with more structural issues, more delays

Three years delayed and millions of dollars over budget, the Silver Spring Transit Center needs even more repairs than originally thought.

ABC7 has learned crews need to strengthen some 250 support beams. This is the 450th structural issue to date and likely means more delays.

This week, Montgomery County General Services Director David Dise blamed engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff and general contractor Foulger Pratt for the setbacks.

Both firms say they're not at fault.

Adding to the confusion, WMATA says it won't inherit the three-story structure unless Montgomery County pays for all future structural repairs -- a condition not originally negotiated.

"It's the biggest debacle in the county's history in terms of a construction project," says Montgomery County Councilman Phil Andrews, who's running for county executive.

Andrews says County Executive Ike Leggett's ultimately to blame.

"It will have taken longer to build this project then it did to build the World Trade Center or the Eiffel Tower," Andrews says. "So really, there's no excuse for it."

New records show 450 changes to the original construction, causing repairs worth $10.8 million.

Councilman Roger Berliner says despite that sum, everyone agrees they need to build the transit center now and sue one another later.

"So all the parties have reserved their litigation positions and are going about their business and then we'll fight over the dollars and who's responsible after that," Berliner says.

So barring any more setbacks, the transit center will open by mid-summer. But the legal battle could last for years.

One high-level county official tells ABC7 the project will soon become a lawyer's dream.