As the Yankees worked throughout 2008 to build their new stadium, a story about one of their contractors — and a subsequent indictment of that contractor — came to light. In June 2008, a Times story revealed that the city was investigating Testwell Laboratories for skimping on its concrete testing, and last October, the company was indicted. On both occasions, the Yankees said an independent contractor had verified the tests. Everything was supposedly a-OK with the new stadium concrete pours.
Today, The Times tells us a different story. William K. Rashbaum and Ken Belson report that cracks have appeared in the stadium ramps. Although the Yanks say these cracks are cosmetic, it could cost a few million dollars to repair the problem and may involve chipping out the entire ramp in order to rebuild it from scratch. Says the article:
The concrete pedestrian ramps at the brand-new $1.5 billion city-subsidized Yankee Stadium have been troubled by cracks, and the team is seeking to determine whether the problems were caused by the installation, the design, the concrete or other factors, according to several people briefed on the problems.
The ramps were built by a company accused of having links to the mob, and the concrete mix was designed and tested by a company under indictment on charges that it failed to perform some tests and falsified the results of others. But it is unclear whether work performed by either firm contributed to the deteriorating conditions of the ramps.
The Yankees have hired an engineering company to take samples from the ramps — they ascend from field level to the stadium’s upper tiers, carrying thousands of people each game — to determine the cause and the extent of the problems as the team finishes its first season in the new stadium and prepares for what could be its first World Series there.
While no one yet knows if Testwell is responsible or if any of the other concrete companies who worked on the stadium are, if the troubled company is found to be the cause of this problem, it would be the first time Testwell’s work was found to be defective.
The key takeaway here, though, is this from Rashbaum and Belson:
The problems also underscore the inadequacies in the process by which the city vets contractors on projects like the stadium, which was financed in significant part by the city but built by a private developer, Tishman-Speyer. The procedures for screening contractors on projects financed by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, as the stadium was, are less rigorous than for projects built and paid for by the city.
Hopefully, tonight, the stadium will be rocking, and in a few weeks, the Yanks will fix this concrete-related problem.