Penn Station Garage, whose upper deck holds up the taxi stand and driveway used by thousands of Amtrak and MARC customers a day, is in need of immediate repairs to remain safe.
The Parking Authority of Baltimore is requesting $39,300 today from the Board of Estimates to hire a consulting engineer to find ways to temporarily fix an expansion joint that has “failed.”
The agency wants to fast-track the design work, so that construction can get underway.
While there is no immediate danger of the deck collapsing, PABC says that steel anchors and rods in the upper deck are under stress and showing signs of deterioration.
Yesterday rainwater could be seen leaking around the overhead joint.
Sections of plywood have been placed over the joint to shield cars and pedestrians from falling concrete.
Started Last Year
If not corrected soon, “the failed expansion joint has the potential to not only negatively impact the structural integrity of Penn Station Garage, but to significantly impact the arrival and departure of all Amtrak customers by taxi or vehicle,” the parking authority said in a memo to the spending board.
The 190-foot-long joint starts under the taxi queue at Penn Station and runs south beneath the circular plaza and drive that serves inbound cars from Charles Street.
Part of the deck structure holds up Jonathan Borofsky’s Male/Female, a 51-foot-tall aluminum sculpture that has been loved or hated by viewers ever since its installation in 2004.
The 525-space garage operates around the clock. It was built in 1995 and is usually filled to capacity during weekdays.
PABC said it began observing deterioration in the garage’s ceilings, including falling concrete, last year.
The worst damage has taken place on the north and south ends of the structure, the agency said.
Today’s contract will be the start of what promises to be a lengthy process of constructing a permanent replacement of the failed joint.
The consulting engineer, Desmond Associates, has done structural assessments for the PABC since 2009.