Two Minnesota citizens – not the two losing bidders for the Interstate 35W rebuild – have filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation demanding that it declare its contract award to a consortium let by Flatiron-Manson "illegal" and "void" and asking for a "permanent injunction" against the reconstruction, slated to start later this month.

In the lawsuit filed Oct. 16 in the County of Ramsey District Court, Scott Sayer and Wendell Anthony Phillippi say that MinnDOT "could have awarded the project to Flatiron much earlier than Oct. 8, disclosed the scoring data and proposals to the public, and waited to execute the contract" so as to "give the public time to review the proposals." They claim, for example, that Flatiron obtained "competitive advantages" by designing partly out of the designated right-of-way, while the losing teams stayed within the ROW. They also claim that the team's design does not have three webs for concrete box girder designs and criticize the selection for its "implications" of "eventual micr-cracking and natural porosity of concrete."

A MnDOT spokesman said late yesterday evening he had not yet been aware of the lawsuit, which is being handled by the same law firm, Fabyanske, Westra, Hart & Thomson, P.A., that local contractors C.S. McCrossan and Ames/Lunda used for their Sept. 20 administrative protest. Both teams submitted costs significantly lower than the winner, Flatiron/Manson, which proposed a price tag of $233.8 million and a schedule of 437 days. Though Flatiron's bid was $57 million higher and 70 days longer than the lowest bid, MnDOT gave it the highest technical score.