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Hairline Cracks Will Delay Completion Of Garages At New Marlins Stadium

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(Source: CBS4)

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LITTLE HAVANA (CBS4) – Repairs of hundreds of hairline cracks found on support beams of what will be the four parking garages at the new Florida Marlin stadium in Little Havana will delay their completion.

According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, the cracks were discovered in March by a building inspector.  Miami city officials and the firm which designed the structures, Omaha based Leo A Daly Co., have spent the past three months evaluating the problem.  The city’s project manager Robert Fenton estimated the repairs will take a team of 8 to 10 workers from four to six weeks for each building, which will delay completion of the garages until December.

Officials said the cracks will be repaired in time for the garages to be in use for the team’s season opener in April 2012.

The two-foot cracks have been found on the inside of the outer walls of the structures, and developed because the support beams there are tied into the exterior walls on only one of their two sides.

“They miscalculated some of the load,” said Robert Fenton referring to Daly.

The firm has “accepted responsibility” for the error and has agreed to cover the repair cost, which could amount to $1 million.  Abdel Martel, Daly’s vice president and director of operations, said the design work at issue had been carried out by a subcontractor.

The city is paying about $75 million to build the garages.

Slideshow: Marlins Stadium Construction

Fixing the cracks will require boring into the concrete, inserting new steel rebar rods, and pouring more concrete into the holes for added support. The fix also requires a square block of concrete that will extend a few inches from where the cracks are on the exterior walls.

Bravo and Fenton say the cracks pose no danger, and the concern is that water may seep into them and, in time, soften the concrete, eventually shortening the lifespan of the garages from their expected 50 to 75 years.

John Pistorino, of Pistorino & Alem Consulting Engineers, said that without seeing the plans or the cracks, it was difficult for him to comment on the problem. But it appears, he said, the city is trying to protect the structure from a long-term problem known as ‘spalling’, which occurs when water creeps in and causes the rebar to rust and expand, further cracking the concrete and destabilizing it. Spalling usually doesn’t occur for many years.

“It’s a pretty common concern in the industry,” said Pistorino, whose firm is now building a Metrorail extension near Miami International Airport. “It takes some time for that to happen, though. They’re trying to avoid it.”

Building $75 million worth of parking facilities is part of Miami’s contribution to the $615 million, 37,000-seat, retractable-roof complex. The city will put another $25 million into construction and utility repairs. The ballpark is being built with a combination of $359 million in tourist taxes and bond money from Miami-Dade County, and $155 million from Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who will borrow $35 million of that from the county, the Herald reported.

The county will own the stadium. The Marlins’ roughly $2 million a year lease payments will be applied against its debt to the county.

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