- Newly rebuilt wood platforms on Chicago public transit lines is rotting prematurely, reports the Chicago Better Government Assn., a local government watchdog group. The platforms at recently renovated train stations, rebuilt in a $530 million project of several years, have required $300,000 in replacement of 10,000 square feet of Southern yellow pine decking at eight stations.

Previously, the Chicago Transit Authority, which operates the train lines, used creosote to preserve the wood. Seeking a more environmentally friendly chemical, the agency selected Flame Safe X-T, from Flame Safe Wood Products, Fort Worth, TX. The chemical primarily acts as a flame retardant, while also reducing rot. Intended for exterior wood, Flame Safe is also available in varieties for interior wood applications.

In addition, the boards were treated with CedarShield to prevent rot, says the Better Government Association report, at the suggestion of consultant Lee Gjovic, a wood expert and former federal employee assigned to the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison,WI.

The Better Government Association says David Glassel, president of Cedar Shield, said his firm's anti-rot treatment is less effective when applied over other treatments, and should have been applied before the Flame Safe X-T was applied.

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