Construction of the Transbay Transit Center

Aug. 14, 2015
Phase 1 of the Transbay Transit Center (TTC) consists of building the five-story transit center and the bus ramp connecting the center to off-site bus storage. The second phase of the project will complete the 1.3-mile extension of the Caltrain rail line

Phase 1 of the Transbay Transit Center (TTC) consists of building the five-story transit center and the bus ramp connecting the center to off-site bus storage. The second phase of the project will complete the 1.3-mile extension of the Caltrain rail line from Fourth and King Streets underground into the new transit center.

The TJPA is the operator-maintainer and it chose to utilize a construction management / general contractor (CM/GC), Webcor/Obayashi. Construction Management Oversight (CMO) is Turner Construction.

The first step was excavating 640,000 cubic yards of dirt, said Senior Construction Manager Dennis Turchon. Before the 1906 earthquake, there was a beach at First Street, one of the major roads crossing the site. TJPA sponsored an archaeological research project within the site where carefully selected locations became the focus of archaeological excavations. A variety of objects from porcelain and glass to prehistoric animal remains were found and preserved.

Construction in a dense, urban setting has led to some necessary innovations being that it’s located in a seismic neighborhood environment. As Turchon said, “We have to be good neighbors.

“Besides all the access issues, we have to be very mindful of people trying to sleep at night and we have to be mindful of traffic during the day.” One of the ways of getting the project done while being a good neighbor has been their night noise permit. They’re very restrictive on contractors to make sure what they’re doing at night absolutely has to be done at night. They also have many people doing outreach to communicate with people in the area.

Currently, more than 10,500 jobs in 20 states across the United States have been created by the Transbay Transit Center. “We are a Buy America project,” explained Ayerdi-Kaplan, “so everything’s being done in shops across the country.”

Another immediate impact for job creation has been the workforce inclusion. They have done a lot of work to hire veterans, disabled veterans, woman-owned and minority-owned small businesses. On September 23, 2103, Ayerdi-Kaplan said they were the first public works project in the United States to hold LGBT business outreach.  

Ayerdi-Kaplan said the contractors work with all of the unions and the various veteran’s organizations, such as Helmets to Hard Hats and Swords to Plow Shares. She added, “We go out to the bases and to the veteran’s hospitals to recruit folks for the trades and for management. We also teamed up with the First Lady’s Joining Forces, which works to help veterans across the country. We’ve got a very robust program in place.

In addition to the opportunities offered to small businesses, she said they require the contractors to hire students. They also hire in-house high school and college students as paid interns. “We place them in positions they’re interested in,” Ayerdi-Kaplan explained. “If they’re interested in engineering, we place them with engineers. If they’re interested in architecture, they work with the architects. There’s finance, public outreach, public relations … there are so many various disciplines that you can be involved in when you’re talking about a project of this scale.

“We go out and work with many organizations, in particular organizations that work with inner city at-risk youth because we strongly believe, if you’re building a public project and you’re building it with public dollars, you should give back to the community.”

They’re in their eighth year now and she said before many students didn’t understand what engineering was or what it took to build a project of our scale and now many have gone on to careers that involve projects like this. “We’re really proud of that and what we’ve done. If you can touch just one life, I think you’re successful.”