Second cracked beam found at $2B San Francisco's 'Grand Central'

Now there’s a second support beam with a crack in it.

San Francisco officials worked Wednesday to find the source of cracking in two support beams that shut down a recently-opened, $2 billion transit center that was supposed to symbolize the city’s reputation for innovation.

Dubbed the “Grand Central of the West,” the transit terminal opened in late August in the South Market neighborhood after nearly a decade of construction and $6 million over budget.

I find it disappointing but also kind of amusing because they built this really big, they spent a lot of money. I feel like the money should have been used for a lot of other things.

— Julianna Cheng

Julianna Cheng, 32, who lives in the neighborhood, burst out laughing when asked about the cracking.

"I find it disappointing but also kind of amusing because they built this really big, they spent a lot of money," said Cheng. "I feel like the money should have been used for a lot of other things."

"I don't know. Maybe this is a sign," she said.

Workers doing maintenance Tuesday morning found the first crack on a steel beam holding up the transit center's rooftop park. A second, smaller crack was found later that day on a parallel beam.

Engineers decided to shut down the terminal around 5 p.m. just as rush hour traffic had started.

"We're working hard to rectify the situation," said Mark Zabaneh, executive director of Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which operates the hub. "We're very disappointed with what happened; we will get to the bottom of this."

Photographs showing a cracked steel beam found in the Salesforce Transit Center are displayed during a news conference.

Photographs showing a cracked steel beam found in the Salesforce Transit Center are displayed during a news conference. (AP)

The steel, which came from Stockton-based Herrick Corp, appeared fine when they were installed in January 2016, Zabeneh said. Engineer David Friedman said the installation of a roof garden and other structures on top of the terminal likely added new stress to the beams.

The shutdown, which Zabaneh expected will last through the end of next week, has sent downtown San Francisco into chaos. Buses have been rerouted to a temporary transit center about two blocks away that was used during the center's construction. A downtown street that runs under the beam also was ordered closed indefinitely, causing a commuting nightmare.

Salesforce, which opened its adjacent 61-story Salesforce Tower earlier this year, bought naming rights to the transit center in 2017 as part of a 25-year, $110 million sponsorship agreement. The terminal is expected to accommodate 100,000 passengers each weekday and up to 45 million people a year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.