Work began Monday on a $60,000 temporary fix of the Milwaukee County Transit Center, one of two county-owned buildings found to have structural problems during emergency inspections.
In his weekly update on the inspection progress, County Executive Scott Walker said the temporary fix of five decorative panels on the center’s facility at Clybourn Avenue should take three weeks to complete and should last a year. J.P. Cullen & Sons Inc., Janesville, is performing the work.
“We think it’s going to take a matter of months, but we wanted it secured right away,” Walker said at a press conference.
The damage to the center, which was completed in 1993, is believed to have resulted from the freeze-thaw cycle that caused the panels to shift. Claims have been filed with the transit’s insurance company. The insurance company has not determined whether the repairs are covered. Milwaukee County Transit has a separate policy but is covered by the same insurer as Milwaukee County, Walker said.
Inspections of all county buildings were prompted after a 13-ton concrete panel fell at the O’Donnell Park parking structure June 24, killing teenager Jared Kellner and injuring two others.
The emergency inspections will cost an estimated $700,000.
Several County Board supervisors blasted Walker after the accident, accusing him of making budget cuts that were to pay for routine inspections. Walker responded that the money he cut, which was for the Milwaukee County Museum, was not needed because money for the work was included in a long-term capital plan.
Twenty-eight architects and engineers from a dozen firms are inspecting more than 100 buildings. Walker said 69 of the 102 building inspections are done and 33 of those buildings had few or minor problems. Of those, a more detailed evaluation of 17 buildings is under way, he said.
An inspection of the Milwaukee County Safety Building, constructed in 1929, should be completed by the end of the week, Walker said. The safety building, a part of the county courthouse complex, houses the Sheriffís Department, the district attorney’s office, some criminal courts and offices. But large sections of the building, including the former county jail, have been vacant for a long time.
In addition to discovering structural problems at the downtown transit center, inspectors found problems a silo on a park property and a transit garage on Fond du Lac Avenue.