Concrete damage limits access to Latrobe parking garage while city looks for fix
The Weldon Street entrance to Latrobe’s municipal parking garage is temporarily closed while city officials and consultants weigh options for solving concrete problems that likely will add to the cost of ongoing repairs to the structure.
Pullman Services has been working for several weeks on the first major repairs to the garage in seven years — including updating expansion joint sealant and rusted handrails, renewing waterproofing on the upper deck, repairing concrete that is peeling or flaking and pressure-washing the structure.
But, according to Councilman Robert Forish, a worker ran into more damage than expected when attempting to repair a section of deteriorated concrete associated with a cantilever on the building’s exterior.
“He hit it with the jackhammer and a 15-foot section just blew apart and came down on the ground,” Forish said Monday . “They were afraid of going in and jack-hammering any harder on it and creating a bigger mess.”
Forish stressed that the garage isn’t in danger of collapsing and remains open for use, with the Weldon Street entrance closed as a precaution and all traffic entering and exiting from Spring Street.
Water getting into concrete can lead to cracks and peeling. City code enforcement officer Ann Powell noted past repairs to the garage included installing additional drains. But, she said, “The way they sloped it, the water misses them anyway.”
Forish said it’s been suggested a flaw in the 47-year-old garage’s original design, perhaps skimping on use of reinforcing bar, may be a factor in the current problems.
Pullman made suggestions for a fix but hasn’t yet quoted a price for the extra work, Forish said. The city in June hired the company to make repairs to the garage at a cost of $68,692.
“We have to do something with that garage,” Mayor Rosie Wolford said. She noted the garage is “pretty well-used during the day.
“We’ve got to bite the bullet and get this fixed.”
She asked Powell to work with engineering consultant Gibson-Thomas on reviewing the problem.
The garage was closed for an extended period when city officials debated seven years ago whether to replace the structure, with an estimated price tag of $7 million, or do less costly repairs. They chose to make repairs.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .