Expert slams late stop on construction work in troubled Millennium Tower

2 mins read

With an estimated 22-inch tilt on its northwest corner at present, an expert has aired his criticisms on the problematic Millennium Tower.

The “perimeter pile upgrade” work on the tower was stopped last August 23 after it was reported that the fix is contributing to the further sinking of the building, which already sank another inch in summer.

In the middle of May, KPIX has obtained a chart that showed that the sinking has gained a faster pace, yet work was not stopped until more than three months later.

This week, Geotechnical engineer Robert Pyke told SFGATE that the stop on the construction work should have been called earlier. “Certainly by the end of June, it was obvious that there was additional settlement as a result of installing the casings and the piles,” he said, adding that: “Any responsible engineer should have called a halt.”

He said the two-month continued construction did more damage to the building.

Chief Engineer Ronald Hamburger, in an email to the outlet on Thursday, said that the augmented settlement in June worried him.

But he added that he has beliefs that “additional settlement through completion of casing installation would not be a problem.”

When the settlement rates increased in July, he said he pushed a moratorium to have the larger 36-inch casings installed. This will allow the team to see the work’s effect after the 24-inch piles on Fremont Street are installed.

“After a brief period, it became obvious that the 24-inch piles alone were causing undesirable settlement and we recommended and the homeowners immediately approved cessation of the work,” he said, saying that the halt was announced due to the increase of pressure from the city.

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