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Court rules against Brightwater contractor JV Dec 2012
TunnelTalk reporting
King County in Washington State, USA, is awarded US$131 million in net damages after a Superior Court jury found the contractor JV Vinci Construction Grands Projets/ Parsons RCI/ Frontier-Kemper (VPFK) defaulted on key contractural obligations during excavation of the central section of the Brightwater conveyance tunnel.
Both of the JV's TBMs required extensive repairs after suffering unusual cutterhead wear during excavation of its section of the now-completed project. The JV fell several months behind schedule owing to a very high level of hyperbaric interventions forced by extreme cutter wear in difficult ground conditions.
Court awards damages against original central section contractor JV

Court awarded damages against original central section contractor JV

"This verdict vindicates our position that Brightwater project delays and cost overruns were the responsibility of the contractor," said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who made the decision to change contractors soon after taking office. "Should the damages award stand, it will mean lower sewer rates than projected in the future."
The County, as plaintiff, claimed VPFK failed to meet contractually specified deadlines after two of its TBMs broke down several hundred feet beneath Lake Forest Park and Bothell in 2009.
The machines required extensive repairs that threatened to delay the completion of Brightwater's 13-mile conveyance tunnel by up to three years. Though VPFK repaired one machine and completed a 2.2-mile tunnel drive between Kenmore and Bothell in 2011, the County could not accept the lengthy delay and additional cost the contractor proposed for the repair of the second machine and completion of the tunneling.
The County instead hired joint-venture contractor Jay Dee/ Coluccio (JDC), to complete the remaining 1.9-mile tunnel between Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. JDC already had a machine underground after completing the adjacent 4-mile tunnel between Point Wells and Shoreline.
"By hiring a new contractor, we completed Brightwater tunnel mining more quickly and at a lower cost than would have otherwise been possible," said Executive Constantine.
To recover costs associated with project delays and design modifications, King County sought approximately US$155 million from VPFK and its sureties. VPFK counterclaimed for approximately US$70 million, saying its delays were excused by unexpected soil conditions and other circumstances that were the County's responsibility. King County acknowledged some of the claims, totaling about US$4.7 million, were valid. The jury granted VPFK's counter-claims in the amount of approximately US$25 million.
Should the damages award stand, it will help ensure stable rates in the future. The current two-year sewer rate expires at the end of 2014.
VPFK was awarded the US$212 million construction contract to build the two central Brightwater conveyance tunnels following a competitive bidding process in 2006. It was the second of four Brightwater construction contracts that built a 13-mile tunnel to carry wastewater from the treatment plant north of Woodinville to a deep-water marine outfall in Puget Sound off of Point Wells.
The original contract scope entailed building two deep-bore tunnels with a combined length of approximately six miles between Shoreline and Bothell. Contractor JDC completed mining on the final 1.9-mile section of Brightwater tunnel in August 2011.
The tunnel began full operation on November 2, 2012, conveying the first flows of highly treated effluent from the Brightwater Treatment Plant north of Woodinville to a 600-ft-deep marine outfall in Puget Sound a mile off of Point Wells.
References
First waters flow through Brightwater - TunnelTalk, November 2012
Excavation complete on Brightwater - TunnelTalk, August 2011
Brightwater action to limit costly delays - TunnelTalk, February 2010
Brightwater TBMs in trouble - TunnelTalk, June 2009

           

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