Washington’s new transit hub behind schedule

August 8, 2014
Washington City Transit’s intermodal transit center is behind schedule but still on budget. Construction was slowed about four months by the harsh winter and the completion date is now set for mid-October. - Mike Jones / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Washington City Transit’s $3.4 million intermodal transit center is months behind schedule, but still expected to finish near its original budget.

The transit hub built on the site of the former East Chestnut Street parking garage was supposed to be completed June 22, though the harsh winter weather and contractor supply problems pushed back the earliest opening date to mid-October.

The intermodal transit center was in the planning stages for more than four years before crews began construction last August, so city officials are eager for the project to be completed.

“We would’ve liked to have been up and running now for all the years that City Transit has been working on this project,” Washington Mayor Brenda Davis said. “The anticipation of it finally opening its doors has been long-awaited, but it will be worth the wait.”

City officials expect to use most of the project’s $300,000 contingency budget, which is above the original costs, because of normal design alterations, construction changes and delays. Davis said the city is paying an additional $550 per day in construction costs during the delays. Waller Corp. of Washington, the project’s general contractor, was granted a 32-day extension with no penalty because of the inclement weather this winter.

“I don’t think it’s unusual for construction projects to fall behind schedule or for there to be some unforeseen issues along the way,” Washington City Transit General Manager Joe Thomas said. “Fortunately, for us, we’re not in a position where there’s any dire consequence as a result.”

Thomas said crews are concentrating on finishing the exterior of the building and the first floor’s interior, where Washington City Transit offices and rider waiting areas will be located. The city’s parking authority, overseen by Thomas, will also have a maintenance garage there to hold trucks and repair meters.

The furnishings and interior of the second floor, which will eventually house offices for Washington County Transportation Authority, will not be finished by October, Thomas said. That organization runs Washington Rides and the Freedom Line.

In addition to becoming a hub for public transportation around the county and to Pittsburgh, Thomas said he is in discussions with a regional bus carrier, who he declined to name, to bring one of its stops through Washington. City officials are also considering whether to eventually relocate the parking fine payment office to the transit hub instead of inside Washington Police Department’s lobby.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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