Engineering misfeasance in the design of a 30-foot diameter, TBM-bored tunnel - a hypothetical case/claim study

The Kendale County Sewerage District (''KCSD'') asked for public bids for its West Side Interceptor deep tunnel project in the mid-1980s. Project management was handled by a group of engineering companies (''Engineer''). The construction project went to the Contractor with the lowest bid, a $46 million lump sum contract price. Construction ran from 1986 to 1992, over two years longer than expected. The price paid by KCSD to the Contractor escalated to $166 million. Price increases were incurred through time and material costs for what were deemed to be differing site conditions encountered during tunnel construction. After completion, KCSD performed a review of the cost overruns and agreed that the time and material payments to the Contractor for differing site conditions were reasonable under the contract. However, KCSD then began to investigate whether there might be problems with those contract documents, which were based upon pre-bid site investigation work undertaken by the Engineer. As a result of that investigation, KCSD filed a claim against the Engineer for $58 million, alleging that the Engineer was in breach of its contract and negligent in preparing and issuing for bid contract documents which did not adequately reflect what the Engineer knew or should have known about expected levels of water inflow and rock support problems which could be expected during construction. When large water inflows and poor rock support were encountered through major reaches of the tunnel construction, the Engineer granted differing site condition status to such problems and compensated the contractor on a time and material basis, over and above the contractor's lump sum price. KCSD subsequently sued the Engineer in the United States District Court. After going through full discovery, a settlement was achieved through mediation. The Engineer paid KCSD the sum of $24 million. (A) "Reprinted with permission from Elsevier". For the covering abstract see ITRD E124500.


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  • Accession Number: 01011525
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Dec 19 2005 3:15PM