A dispute over the program management contract for Idaho’s planned $1.2-billion highway network has ended, with the state reselecting a team led by Washington Group International. Losing bidder Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. has agreed to drop its Nov. 25, 2005, lawsuit seeking to nullify the contract. The Jan. 6 reselection occurred after Idaho officials met to rescore presentations, this time in an open meeting.

PB had claimed the contract award for the federally funded project violated federal law in inappropriately using local preference to select Boise-based WGI and its partner, CH2M-Hill Cos., Denver (ENR 12/12/05 p. 10). The team was selected for the highway program on Oct. 27.

The local office of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) worked with the board to clarify the re-selection process. Each team’s proposal was rescored in a public setting with team members, lawyers, and agency representatives present.

FHWA assisted Idaho officials to segregate best price criteria from the quality-based selection process, to clear up miscues and eliminate any perception of impropriety. “The whole thing boiled down to a procedural problem,” says Stephen Moreno, administrator of FHWA’s Idaho division.

PB officials say the firm will not pursue further legal action. “We were disappointed that we weren’t selected, but we were glad the board reconsidered and went through a process that we felt was fair this time,” says Clint Topham, PB senior vice president. Dave Butzier, WGI program manager, says work on the project ceased following the state’s Dec. 14 decision to reconsider the award. It is to resume after Jan. 17.