This seems like a twist in the long saga of the 405 freeway improvement project through Sepulveda Pass. Kiewit, the project's main contractor, is suing Metro — not the other way around — alleging that the transit agency that commissioned and oversaw the work is responsible for the delays and cost overruns we all are so familiar with. Metro caused “massive amounts of extra work” and owes Kiewit $400 million in out-of-pocket costs, the contractor's lawsuit charges. Metro disagrees and says the two parties are negotiating the final costs.
From Dakota Smith's story in the Daily News:
The lawsuit, filed in mid-May, cites numerous problems, including Metro’s failure to relocate utility lines from the area and to manage the Mulholland Bridge redesign. It also blames the agency for the 2011 collapse of a large retaining wall....
Kiewit was hired in 2009 to oversee the project, which quickly encountered numerous hurdles. Workers had to remove at least 9 miles of unexpected utility lines, the lawsuit states. A legal claim filed last year by a Bel Air landowner forced the redesign of a freeway on-ramp near the Getty Museum, while the retaining wall collapse also delayed work.
The project finished at least a year behind schedule. Amid the setbacks, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman in 2013 called for a review by the Federal Highway Administration. The agency named the retaining wall collapse as the biggest contributing factor to its delayed completion in a report released last summer.
While disputes over cost overruns aren’t uncommon in such large projects, in this case, an independent three-member dispute review board was supposed to be one of the mechanisms to resolve claims by Kiewit and Metro, said Kiewit spoksman Bob Kula.
In a statement, Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said that “Metro does not believe this claim complies with those contract requirements. However, Metro continues to negotiate in good faith with Kiewit to resolve specific outstanding claims under terms of its contract.”