Montgomery County and Foulger-Pratt trade barbs over transit center fix -- Gazette.Net


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This story has been updated at 1 p.m., Monday, Sept. 16, 2013.

Montgomery County could withold payment or demand money back from the contractor of the Silver Spring Transit Center because of the cost of repairing mistakes to the facility.

“Given the construction deficiencies present in the project...the county is well within its contractual rights to retain payment, or demand return of moneys already paid” to Foulger-Pratt Contracting for its work on the project, which is “grossly” behind schedule, according to a letter to the contractor from David Dise, director of the county’s Department of General Services.

Foulger-Pratt released a statement about the letter Monday.

“Foulger-Pratt is in receipt of a letter from David Dise, sent in response to the letter sent to David by Bryant Foulger on September 10. We stand by the statements made in our September 10 letter and have nothing further to add at this time.”

The two sides are engaged in a dispute over fixing cracks in the $120 million transit hub, including the use of a latex-modified concrete as the overlay product to make the repairs.

The site at the corner of Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring was scheduled to open in 2011, but a series of cracks found in the structure and disparities in the thickness of the concrete have delayed the opening.

In a letter sent to Dise Tuesday, Foulger-Pratt Managing Principal Bryant Foulger said the facility likely won’t be ready until at least summer 2014.

Foulger wrote that the firm opposed the installation of the concrete overlay because it wouldn’t address the design issue that caused the cracking and long-term maintenance of the concrete slabs.

In a release to The Gazette, Foulger strongly opposed the county’s approach.

“Our recommendations with regard to the overlay have been ignored in favor of an approach that we believe to be highly inadvisable — an approach insisted upon by the county’s design engineer over our strenuous objections,” Foulger wrote. “The designer’s approach is technically ill-advised and ill-conceived.”

Dise’s letter, sent Tuesday, said the county blames Foulger-Pratt for the problems that have delayed the opening of the center.

“The county will hold [Foulger-Pratt] responsible for all costs associated with correcting defects in the Project caused by FPC,” Dise’s letter said.

The letter argued that everyone except Foulger-Pratt, its subcontractors and consultants have agreed that the latex-modifed concrete is preferable to other alternatives.

And he left no doubt who the county would hold responsible for fixing the mistakes on the project.

The county “fully expects that any costs, and time, attendant to correcting such conditions are and will be the responsibility of FPC,” Dise wrote. “The county has already made payment for work since determined to be defective. Therefore, all costs incurred to correct defective conditions must be borne by the responsible parties.”

rmarshall@gazette.net