ODOT officials announced today that Granite Construction’s subsidiary, Yaquina River Constructors, (YRC) will pay ODOT back $15 million, then pack up and go home while ODOT moves ahead with the construction of the freeway through the Pioneer Mountain area between Eddyville and just east of Toledo.
ODOT said both parties waive any claims against each other and that ODOT’s notice of default will be taken back. ODOT said YRC no longer has a contractual obligation to complete the project and will demobilize from the project site in an orderly manner. ODOT will assume the job of project management.
ODOT said it determined that the settlement with YRC is in the best interest of the State of Oregon in order to avoid the delay and costs drawn out litigation and to allow ODOT to move forward with construction on the US 20 Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville project this summer.
ODOT Public Information Officer Rick Little told News Lincoln County that the project now has two final phases. The first phase will be let out to bid as soon as possible with a contractor hired in time to begin construction by July 1. The second phase of the project still needs to be designed to relect the new physical realities of the project. Little says they’re scrapping the bridges and putting the highway back down on the ground and using culverts for creeks and streams. Little added that the highway will be slightly re-aligned to avoid landslide areas.
Little said ODOT expects to have the Highway 20 project finished sometime in 2015. When it is, it’s expected to shave off 15 to 20 minutes off the hour and five minute drive time between Newport and Corvallis. A higher grade highway, with no hair pin turns, will also be able to handle larger hauling and delivery trucks that currently must use Highway 18 north of Lincoln City to access Central Coast businesses and industrial areas. Port of Newport General Manager Don Mann said he’s pleased the project is back underway but that it’s completion bears no enhanced benefit to the port at this time in that most large trucks that use the current Highway 20 can get to and from the Port of Newport with no problems.
A statement from Granite Construction Headquarters near Monterey, California read:
This has been an extremely challenging project from its inception. The design solution that ODOT intends to use was not originally available to us. With this resolution, ODOT will be able to complete the project in a different manner and with potential advantages that were not available to Granite as the design-builder on the project.
We agreed to the settlement, which included payment and other obligations by both parties, in an effort to resolve this issue and eliminate protracted litigation, future design risk and potential future liabilities for Granite. ODOT and YRC agreed that settlement under these terms was in the best interest of both parties.
Granite has a proven track record of building some of the largest, most complex infrastructure projects across the country. We also have one of the oldest and most robust ethics and compliance programs in the industry. The company has won numerous awards including being named as one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere for three straight years. Earlier this year, Granite received the Alliant Build America Award from the Associated General Contractors of America, which deemed a Granite-led project in Maryland as one of the nation’s most impressive of 2011.