Construction crews working in the downtown Transit Center uncovered potentially-serious rust damage to the Main Street East parking garage.

“We are going to have to take a look at it,” City Manager Curt Davis said.

Structural engineers from H.F. Lenz Co. in Richland and Pawlowski/Haman Architects in Johnstown are investigating the damage, Davis said.

It is the second city parking garage to come under scrutiny. Upper floors of the Washington Street garage have been closed since August 2003, when officials discovered cracks in the concrete.

The latest damage came to light when the old busway ceiling was removed as part of the Transit Center’s $1 million upgrade, CamTran Chairman Ed Cernic Jr. said.

“We’ve put the city on notice that they have some issues here,” Cernic said during Friday’s Cambria County Transit Authority meeting. Initial estimates range from $60,000 to $100,000 for repairs, he said.

“They say, ‘We don’t have the money,’ ” Cernic said.

Two inspectors have come to different conclusions, he said. One said the rust is not a threat; the other suspects structural damage.

Cernic expects Cameron’s project to proceed with installation of a new aluminum ceiling. If the city deems no repairs are necessary, continued rust could stain the new ceiling.

Another problem with less-serious potential consequences has already been dealt with, Cernic said. A brick facade found to be unstable was removed. Leaders are looking into less-expensive replacement siding.

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