- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded construction consortium Kiewit-Turner a $571 million contract to finish the beleaguered U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital project in Aurora, CO, allowing Kiewit-Turner to complete its work on the over-budget, behind-schedule project, according to the Denver Business Journal.
- The hospital, which broke ground in 2010, is $1 billion over budget, bringing its current estimated cost to $1.67 billion. The project’s completion date has also been pushed further back to January 2018.
- In a September deal, Congress agreed to pay for the rest of the hospital’s construction, despite the controversy surrounding its mismanagement. Critics called the VA’s accountability and decision-making abilities into question for this hospital as well as other major hospital projects, leading Congress to require, as a condition of the funding, that the Army Corps of Engineers manage any VA construction project expected to cost $100 million or more.
Kiewit-Turner has been the general contractor for the hospital project since its groundbreaking in 2010. In December 2014, however, Kiewit-Turner said it had a right to stop work on the project when the VA was found in breach of its contract. Following that judgment, work resumed a few days later with a bridge contract. This most recent contract with Kiewit-Turner was awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers after Congress authorized the Corps to take full control.
"The final spending authorization that Congress passed in September coupled with the VA’s and the Corps’ signed contract paves the way to finish the state-of-the-art facility veterans deserve. I join Colorado veterans in awaiting the project’s completion, and I’ll continue to fight for transparency and accountability from the VA," U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said.
The Army Corp of Engineers, as required by the September funding deal, has taken over management of the project and will make periodic reports on its progress to Congress. The 182-bed hospital has been plagued by a decade of delays already, leading to several resignations and at least two internal investigations.
"After years of delay, there is finally a resolution that will allow the VA medical center to be completed," U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said.