Raleigh parking deck going up fast

January 23, 2008 5:42:43 PM PST
Downtown Raleigh's newest parking deck is going up so quickly it seems to have shot up overnight.

Stephanie Jurenko, who works downtown can't believe how fast its being built. "I went away for a couple of weeks, when I came back I was kind of surprised by how many layers they put on."

The deck, being built between Wilmington and Blount Streets near Davie, is made up of precast concrete panels. Each piece is trucked in then put together like a giant puzzle of building blocks. Steel beams within the panels are welded together.

It's a faster and cheaper way to build a parking deck in comparison to the traditional concrete poured style. Some wonder if it's simplicity compromises safety.

Curt Willis, Construction Inspections Administrator for the city of Raleigh, says no. "This type of deck has been built and used in many, many different situations for many, many years."

Last year, part of a parking deck in Charlotte collapsed when a woman died of natural causes behind the wheel and hit a support beam. Three panels broke apart and fell on top of cars on the floor below.

A parking deck in New Jersey, also built with precast panels, collapsed during construction killing four workers, five years ago.

"Well I kind of worry about those things," Jurenko says, "but I hope with inspectors these days that they should be checking to make sure that its built correctly and throwing up red flags if it needs to be fixed."

The deck in Raleigh will be inspected by a third party before the city opens it.

Construction crews hope to be finished with the 1600 space deck by the end of July. They want to have it open by the time the RBC Centura Tower opens one block away from the deck in August.

Willis says he'll feel comfortable parking here. "Absolutely, no doubts." He says the public should too since they've probably parked on a deck built the same way without any problems.


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