The drainage project is held by a joint venture of Thalle Construction Co. Inc., Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., and Artis Group Inc., Stone Mountain, Ga. Budgeted at $18.8 million, it has swelled to $29 million. Delays were impeding progress on the earthwork project, currently under way by 5R Constructors, Atlanta, says Hartsfield General Manager Ben DeCosta.

MOVING ON Earthwork job requires drainage work to end. (Photo courtesy of 5R Constructors)

DeCosta says geological conditions were not adequately identified, resulting in change orders of $3 million and $6 million, with a third under negotiation. "Existing 4.5-ft-dia caissons should have been 20 ft," he says. "An H-pile foundation system will be what is needed" for soil stabilization and runway support.

The city vote allocated $223,000 to redesign the drainage project, which crosses the runway site. The project was to have been completed in May 2002 but now will end this spring, says DeCosta. "If things continued this way, 5R would have to cease work on May 1," he says, referring to the earthwork project. That would result in huge claims, since 5R's work on the 9,000-ft new runway comes with huge incentives and disincentives, based on completion in late 2004.

5R Constructors is a joint venture of Matthews Construction, APAC-Georgia and Thrasher Trucking Co. It is still pursuing a preliminary injunction, seeking a halt to construction by a rival for the $159-million job to build runway and taxiway bridges for the runway, says George Wenick, attorney for 5R. U.S. District Judge Owen Forrester ruled in December that Archer Western Contractors, Atlanta, could continue the job (ENR 1/13 p. 14). 5R contends that a vertical wall in its $179-million bid conformed to bid requirements that prohibited Archer Western's abutment.

5R previously had to win approval of an arbitrator to begin the earthwork project after submitting the only bid last year (ENR 3/11/02 p. 15). The team is using a 9,000-ft-long overland conveyor system to haul 27 million cu yd of earth to the site. 5R officials say the belt is moving an average of 1 million cu yd per month.

The airport's $5.4-billion expansion includes a $950-million new terminal and a $536-million consolidated rental car facility, says DeCosta. He is soliciting value-engineering proposals to drop the rental car complex to $300 million and is talking to airlines about extending an automated people mover to the new terminal for about $80 million.

tlanta city council members March 3 approved the redesign of a trunk drainage project that has been hampering the construction schedule of a $350-million runway earthwork project at Hartsfield Airport. Delays could potentially cost millions of dollars.