- Tappan Zee Constructors, a design-build team that includes Fluor, American Bridge, Traylor Bros and Granite Construction, has filed a lawsuit against the New York State Thruway Authority seeking $961 million for extra costs associated with bad weather, a crane collapse and interference from another design-build team in TZC's performance on the $4 billion Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge, according to documents provided by TZC to Construction Dive.
- TZC claims that the authority hired engineering firm HNTB, which is not part of the lawsuit, to oversee the project on its behalf and required that HNTB review and approve TZC's decisions to the point of negatively affecting productivity. In addition, unapproved change orders for weather delays early in the project and the lost time associated with a 2016 crane collapse forced TZC, to accelerate the work, the lawsuit says, incurring the additional costs.
- The contract, according to TZC, requires that internal resolution processes be exhausted before other legal remedies can be used when it comes to disputes of this nature, and TZC said the negotiations with the authority have reached that point.
“Our objective in this effort remains reaching a fair and swift resolution with NYSTA, rather than continuing to draw out the claims process, which places an untenable cost burden on our companies and, ultimately, New York taxpayers," TZC said in an emailed statement.
“We are simply seeking compensation owed for our work on a bridge that has been complete, operational, and successfully serving as an essential transportation nexus for New Yorkers for over two years.”
In a letter to the authority, TZC project executive and project manager Sam Choy wrote, "Ignoring debts due does not make them go away. Interest accrues and the behavior drives the most experienced companies away from doing business with the State."
This is the second legal swipe that TZC has taken at the authority in state court in an attempt to recover almost $1 billion in extra costs. In 2019, the consortium filed a lawsuit to force the authority to turn over documents that could help prove its change order claims. TZC maintained that the authority was breaking state freedom of information laws by not providing the documents. That request was denied in March of last year.
TZC said that it asked for the documents in 2018 and that the paperwork related to project budgets, contingency amounts, communications between the authority and the governor's office and other correspondence are all integral in the effort to prove its claims.
The design-build group has also sued Foothills Bridge Co., a demolition contractor on the project, for more than $40 million, alleging that the contractor was negligent in its design and preparation of plans for the demolition of the main span of the Tappan Zee bridge in 2018. The demolition called into question the integrity of the structure, forcing TZC to incur the extra costs.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has used the bridge as an example of how the design-build method can be used to deliver major infrastructure projects on time and on budget.