Colorado transportation officials struck a $ 14 million deal with a group of construction and design contractors two years after a busy suburban section of US 36 collapsed – a section they had enlarged about five years earlier – hampered traffic for months.
The payment will reimburse the Colorado Department of Transportation for most of the $ 17.6 million it spent to respond and then quickly reconstruct the eastbound overpass approach near Church Ranch Boulevard in Westminster. During the July 2019 “slope break”, officials said, water-saturated clay flowed into the embankment, causing the road pavement to crack and the wall to sag and deform. support.
Six million dollars will be paid to CDOT by a joint venture of Ames Construction and Granite Construction, which led the rebuilding and expansion of US 36 between Denver and Boulder from 2012 to 2016. The expansion added a lane express toll in each direction.
HDR Engineering and Kleinfelder, another design company, will each pay $ 4 million, according to the settlement document. All four companies are based out of state. The settlement was finalized in recent weeks and released on Friday in response to a request for public documents.
None of the companies admit responsibility for the collapse under the deal, but the settlement avoids any state lawsuits that could have resulted in a complaint being filed by the Colorado attorney general’s office. against companies and claim even more damages. After the collapse, the document says, CDOT filed claims against the Ames-Granite company, triggering a cascade of fault claims among the four companies.
A state-ordered forensic investigation into the causes of the failure has yet to be released. A CDOT lawyer said the document would be available as early as next week.
CDOT spokesman Matt Inzeo said the regulations barred the department from commenting except to say that all parties were happy to have resolved the issue without resorting to litigation.
In July 2020, after a year without a word on the causes of the collapse, State Representative Matt Gray, a Democrat representing neighbor Broomfield, told the Denver Post that “whoever is responsible should respond to people who have passed. overtime hours in traffic away from their families due to an avoidable mistake.
During the repair period, the two directions of traffic shared the west side of the highway, causing bottlenecks. The reconstructed section reopened to traffic in October 2019, nearly three months after the collapse.
CDOT recently published a breakdown of response and repair costs on its website. The settlement payments will reimburse $ 14 million in costs which include the removal of the collapsed wall, site stabilization, the installation of over 3,600 cubic yards of concrete, the drilling of deep caissons as part of a new support structure, the use of 275,000 pounds of steel and more than 20,000 man hours.
The settlement does not cover the $ 3.5 million in additional costs that accelerated the reconstruction project. Faced with the challenges of the soil, CDOT chose to pile 24,000 cubic meters of large blocks of geofoam inside the backfill, rather than filling it with earth. CDOT officials said at the time that the blocks would better support the weight of the new section of highway while posing less risk of sinking.