Four construction firms that teamed up to build the Green Line Extension say the company that designed key components of the new trolley line screwed up to the tune of more than $35 million in cost overruns, and they are demanding payment, in a suit filed today in Suffolk Superior Court.
Because the state signed a lump-sum contract with GLX Constructors for the $1.08-billion project in December, 2017, the construction consortium had to eat the overrun costs due to allegedly inadequate or simply wrong designs provided by STV, Inc. of New York. But while taxpayers didn't have to eat the costs, some of the issues might have further delayed the opening of the oft delayed line, since in some cases, the construction companies say, they had to dig up already completed parts of the system and re-do them.
In the complaint, GLX Constructors - Fluor Enterprises of Irving, TX, the Middlesex Corp. of Littleton, Herzog Contracting Corp. of St. Joseph, MO and Balfour Beatty Infrastructure of Atlanta - says it initially hired STV to help it figure out how to structure their bid for the work by providing plans and estimates for building all the new tracks, stations and associated facilities. And then, after the consortium won the bid, the four companies hired STV to provide ongoing design services.
But in its pre-bid specs, the suit alleges, STV seriously underestimated the amount and type of work required on everything from the length and materials needed for retaining walls along the tracks to the construction of components of the viaduct that would carry trolleys to Union Square. GLX Constructors said it did not learn about these until after it had won the state contract - sometimes years later - which meant it was too late to include the true costs in its bid.
In the case of the Union Square viaduct, construction was already well underway when MBTA engineers noticed the studs used to weld components of the viaduct in some parts were not adequate, forcing the company to re-do an extensive part of the work, the suit says.
At one station (which the suit identifies as "College Station"), STV failed to follow architectural renderings, which meant the plans it provided to GLX Constructors were not ADA compliant - which GLX says it found out about after the station was completed, forcing it to re-do work there.
Due to these elevation variances, additional design modifications were required after construction was complete to revise grading at the station entrance and revise layout of the bollards and outdoor bike hoops.
GLX Constructors charges STV's specs for three power substations included perfectly flat floors, rather than being pitched towards a floor drain, which meant that any water that found its way into them would just sit there.
As a consequence of these design defects, GLX Constructors was required to perform corrective working including cutting concrete, concrete removal, adjusting drain height and repouring floor around floor drain to allow water to flow toward and into the floor drains.
GLX Constructors says that as it found each new problem, it notified STV and demanded payment, but that the company has refused to own up to any problems.
The court docket does not yet specify a date by which STV has to answer the complaint.
Complete complaint (1.9M PDF).