Dispute Waged Over Design of San Francisco Subway Job
Contractor Tutor Perini Corp. is clashing with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency over what the firm says are alleged design flaws that may push past December the completion of the already-delayed $1.6-billion Central Subway Project.
The 2019 Monthly Monitoring Report, prepared by project management oversight contractor (PMOC) David Evans and Associates Inc., and delivered to the Federal Transit Administration on March 5, faults Tutor Perini for anticipated delays.
However, Tutor Perini President and COO Jack Frost says the delays resulted from the design flaws and the agency’s failure to address them in a timely manner.
“The deficiencies on the automated train control systems and the radio systems have been something that we have pointed out to them for a very long time,” Frost told ENR via a spokesperson. “Until those get addressed and corrected, it’s hard for us to speculate or come up with an accurate estimate of when the project is going to be finished.”
The overall project, with a baseline budget of $1.58 billion, includes more than one mile of twin-bore tunnels excavated using two 20-ft-dia tunnel-boring machines.
Tutor Perini, with its subsidiaries, won an $840-million contract for three underground stations and one above-ground station, plus systems and tracks.
The ovesight report said that ongoing negotiations with Tutor Perini is among several key factors for the project to stay on budget.
Frost said an independent dispute review board found merit in 20 of the 23 claims filed, and Tutor Perini said it expects “tens of millions of dollars” in claims to be settled in its favor.
The subway agency did not immediately respond to requests for information about the project’s status, budget and delays. “The rapid increase in claims by [Tutor Perini] calls into question the adequacy of the program contingency,” the PMOC report said. “Unless the claims are settled for less than the claimed amount, there is a risk that the program budget could be exceeded.”
The San Francisco Examiner published an April 4 email written by Tutor Perini that said the agency, SFMTA, is responsible for delays and excess costs.
The email said: “Here, SFMTA has delayed the project opening by issuing hundreds of change orders to the contractor to correct numerous flaws in SFMTA’s original design for the project. SFMTA has known since at least 2016 that the project was not going to be open to the public on time because of the delays that SFMTA, not Tutor Perini, has caused.”
The overall project broke ground in February 2010 and was slated to be complete in 2018. But it has been plagued by major setbacks, including replacing already-installed steel tracks.