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Industry News - April 2005

Independent Panel Identifies Bay Bridge Problems

ANNAPOLIS, MD - The jury is out on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge's deck resurfacing problems, but no one is taking responsibility yet. An independent overview team, commissioned by the Maryland Transportation Authority, released its report in February on the recent problems with the resurfacing of the bridge's westbound span. The team identified six major problems and provided recommendations for safeguarding future resurfacing work.

Resurfacing of the 30-year-old deck began in 2002. Cianbro of Baltimore, Md., was the contractor on the project, which called for complete replacement of 21 decks and concrete overlays on 95 spans. Cracks began to appear in 2003 and as the problem began to worsen, the MTA called for an independent team to investigate the problems last year.

The overview team's report outlined six factors believed to have contributed to the failure of concrete used. The bridge's 6.5-in.-thick decks are considered thin compared to most decks built today with a minimum thickness of 8 in., according to the report. Other factors in the report include inadequate preparation of the substrate surface; use of matrix restorer and epoxy bonding agent on the substrate; properties of the concrete mixture itself; cold temperatures in which much of the concrete was placed; and inadequate curing methods used.

In its report, the overview team did not determine responsibility for the problems. That issue will be examined by the state's Office of the Attorney General.

Mike Hart, vice president and Mid-Atlantic regional general manager at Cianbro, said the report substantiates the company's claims about its work on the project.

"We did the work per the specifications and per our client's directions," Hart said.

Cianbro continues to finish phase one of the bridge project with work on the center lane scheduled for completion by Memorial Day.

Prior to moving forward with future work on the bridge, the team recommended full-depth deck replacement for subsequent deck renovations and prequalification of consultants, contractors and suppliers to ensure the parties involved are qualified to undertake the work successfully.

The team also recommended 21 specific technical safeguards to adhere to in any future overlay work. The safeguards call for careful attention to each detail of surface preparation, concrete placement and curing.

Following the report's release, Maryland Transportation Secretary and MTA Chairman Robert Flanagan announced that he directed the authority to adopt a "fresh approach" to rehabilitating the Bay Bridge. The MTA will utilize the recommended guidelines when completing the construction of the center lane this spring. Mike Hart of Cianbro said the company would do additional work as MTA requests it.

The remainder of the rehabilitation plan will be delayed as the MTA considers adopting the recommendations. The job was scheduled for completion in 2006, but Flanagan said it will likely be delayed until 2007.

SEPTA Project on Hold After Contractor Termination

PHILADELPHIA, PA - The future of the Cobbs Creek portion of the Market Street Elevated Reconstruction project remains up in the air following the termination of contractor PKF Mark III of Newtown, Pa., from the $74 million project by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in December.

The termination followed a complaint against SEPTA filed by PKF in October. The complaint alleges that SEPTA breached its contract on the Cobbs Creek portion of the project, causing significant delays and overruns. The case is pending.

Upon terminating the contract with PKF, SEPTA General Manager Faye Moore released a statement claiming that PKF "failed to meet the agreed upon standards of the contract."

SEPTA claimed that PKF's contract violations included defective interim support towers and failure to meet the schedule. As of Nov. 1, the project was 712 days behind schedule.

Pete Getchell, president of PKF Mark III, said the delays were caused by SEPTA and other contractors. Getchell said the parties had significant disagreements about quality requirements and that sometimes it would take months to hear responses from SEPTA.

"We became concerned about eight months into the job when it was clear that we were going to have tremendous difficulty getting things approved," Getchell said. "SEPTA and the project manager [Jacobs Engineering] were interfering in our work. It became clear that they wanted to dictate how the work would be done."

Getchell added that the company has successfully worked on other projects with SEPTA, including the $30 million Franklin Transportation Center project, which it completed in 2003, and the $27 million Girard Avenue Rail Infrastructure Renewal project, which was completed last year.

PKF's lawsuit states that for reasons it can't determine, "SEPTA has taken inconsistent approaches to the administration" of contracts on the three different jobs.

Among the changes that PKF claimed in its lawsuit caused the delays were inaccurate surveys, guideway deck design changes, disagreements over beam cambering and a third rail design change.

The lawsuit also claims that SEPTA and its engineer unreasonably interpreted specifications on the job which led to the rejection of temporary towers, caisson concrete, web-girder beams and weld tests.

The project manager, Jacobs Sverdrup of Tullahoma, Tenn., and the project designer, DMJM/Harris of Philadelphia, would not comment on the case and deferred to SEPTA. SEPTA representatives would not comment on specifics of the case while it is pending, but SEPTA spokesman Richard Mahoney said PKF "simply did not perform, by any stretch, the agreed upon contract in terms of getting the job done with any type of quality performance."

Getchell said any case against his company simply doesn't add up.

"We've never walked away from a job before," he added. "When have you heard of a contractor walking away from a $70 million job? It just doesn't happen."

Tompkins Selected to Build New Physics Lab

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. General Services Administration recently selected Tompkins Builders of Washington, D.C., to construct the new Physics Laboratory for the Food & Drug Administration at the White Oak Federal Research Center near Silver Spring, Md.

The $41.3 million contract included the construction of 135,000-sq.-ft. of laboratory space, which will accommodate the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Kling is the architect and Heery-Tishman is the construction manager.

The contract marks the beginning of the third phase of the FDA's consolidation on the new White Oak campus. Tompkins completed the first phase of the project in 2003. When all phases are complete, the new campus will replace 3 million sq. ft. of outdated facilities scattered throughout suburban Maryland.

Construction on the third phase began Feb. 1 and is expected to be completed in February 2007.

Skanska to Design/Build Naval and Space Center

ROCKVILLE, MD - Skanska USA Building of Rockville, Md., was recently awarded a design/build contract for the new Naval Network and Space Operation Command Center at the Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center in Virginia. The $17 million contract was awarded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington. Kling of Washington, D.C., is the architect.

The project will include a new 75,000-sq.-ft. building that will be linked to existing Building 1700. The project also includes 15,000-sq.-ft. of renovations to 1700, site improvements, and a 550-space parking lot.

The new facility will be used to operate and maintain the Navy's space and global telecommunications systems and services for promoting innovative technology solutions.

The project is expected to be completed in March 2006.

L. F. Driscoll to Build $98 Million AtlantiCare Expansion

BALA CYNWYD, PA - L.F. Driscoll of Bala Cynwd, Pa., was recently selected as construction manager on the $98 million expansion to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City Campus in Atlantic City.

The seven-story 198,000-sq.-ft. tower will be built adjacent to the existing hospital. It will include a new emergency department, radiology department, intensive care unit with 26 rooms, two medical/surgical floors with 30 private patient suites, new rooftop helipad and two floors for future expansion.

The project also includes the renovation of 26,000-sq.-ft. of the existing hospital space and construction of a pedestrian walkway form the Caesar's Transportation Center over Michigan Avenue for the hospital.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for September 2005 with completion in 2008.

Hensel Phelps Lands $84.4 Million Naval Contract

CHANTILLY, VA - Hensel Phelps Construction of Chantilly, Va., was recently awarded the $84.4 million design-build contract for the new Presidential Helicopter Support Facility at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.

The project represents one of the largest construction projects in the Navy base's history. It will house the Marine Corps' new Marine One Helicopter Squadron. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 2006.

The 213,000-sq.-ft. support facility will include a hangar deck, stripping and painting aircraft areas, parking apron, taxiway access and an adjoined support building. Located on a separate site, a new Air Traffic Control Tower will be constructed along with a small building renovation.

The project architects are Giuliani Associates Architects of Washington, D.C., and HNTB Architecture of Washington. Thornton Tomasetti-Cutts of Washington, D.C. is the structural engineer. M.C. Dean of Dulles, Va., is the electrical engineer and Southland Industries of Dulles is the mechanical engineer.

Bovis Breaks Ground on $46 Million High-Rise

BETHESDA, MD - Bovis Lend Lease of Bethesda, Md., was recently selected by KSI Services to provide preconstruction and general contracting services for the Midtown Alexandria Station condominium project in Alexandria, Va. The $45.8 million high-rise project includes 369 units and is located on 3.5 acres adjacent to the Huntington Metro Station. Dorsky, Hodgson & Partners is the architect. KSI is a Virginia-based real estate developer.

The 16-story 603,159-sq.-ft structure features a penthouse level, six floors of above-grade parking, pool, exercise room and party room. Construction began in February and is scheduled for completion in Spring 2007.

Donohoe Begins Construction of The Sterling at The Metro

WASHINGTON, DC - Donohoe Construction of Washington, D.C. recently began construction of The Sterling at The Metro in North Bethesda, Md. The site is located near the White Flint Metro Station. The 16-story luxury condominium building will have 197 units with parking for 330 cars. The building, which was designed by VOA of Washington, D.C., will feature a community room and fitness center. The exterior features ornamental streetlights, a pocket park and a residential courtyard with a pool and gardens. The building will also include 15,000-sq.-ft of professional/commercial space. Donohoe Real Estate Services will handle leasing for the space. The Donohoe Companies developed the project.

HITT Renews Contract for Pentagon IDIQ Project

WASHINGTON, DC - HITT of Washington, D.C., recently renewed its multiyear indefinite quantity contract for construction services at the Pentagon and at least five other Pentagon Reservation facilities. The deal marks the second time the company has been awarded a multiyear IDIQ performance contract for construction at the Pentagon. Facilities included in the contract are Federal Office Building #2, the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, Hybla Valley, and the Pentagon Heating and Refrigeration Plant.

The initial contract term is one year with a maximum of $5 million per year and four additional one-year options based on performance. The scope of the contract includes but is not limited to repairs, renovations, new construction and alteration to facilities and utilities.

HITT's previous Pentagon contract expired in July 2003, but was extended until December 2003. Under that contract, HITT performed more than six million sq. ft. of tenant-occupied renovations on three campuses, including the Pentagon, Navy Annex and Hybla Valley facilities.

Forrester Awarded $16 Million Renovation

ROCKVILLE, MD - Forrester Construction Interiors Group of Rockville, Md., was recently awarded the $16 million 2000 N Street Renovation in Washington, D.C. The 300,000-sq.-ft. project includes the complete conversion of a hotel into a 306 unit apartment building. WDG Architects of Washington, D.C., is the architect. Archstone Smith is the owner. Construction started in February and is expected to be completed in the fall.

The renovations will include new kitchens, upgraded bathrooms, new wood floor, carpet and finishes in all rental units. The ground floor will include a new entrance canopy, a redesigned lobby with upgraded finishes and the construction of a new leasing office. The Plaza level will include a tenant storage area, new fitness center and laundry room. The exterior courtyard will be improved with a new pool and extensive new landscape design.

Perini Completes Acquisition of Cherry Hill Construction

JESSUP, MD - Perini Corp. of Framingham, Ma., recently completed the acquisition of Cherry Hill Construction of Jessup, Md. Cherry Hill, which serves the Mid-Atlantic and southeast regions, has approximately $130 million in annual revenues. Cherry Hill has approximately 300 employees. The company specializes in excavation, foundations, paving and construction of civil infrastructure. Perini purchased 100 percent of Cherry Hill's capital stock for approximately $20 million in cash.

Cherry Hill will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Perini and Cherry Hill's senior management will continue in that role. John A. Loftus, a senior vice president of Perini, will serve as president and CEO of Cherry Hill. David Openshaw, a 15-year veteran of Cherry Hill, will serve as executive vice president and general manager.

Construction Groups Line Up to Bid on Nats Stadium

BETHESDA, MD - Clark Construction Group of Bethesda, Md., Hunt Construction Group of Indianapolis, Ind., and Smoot Construction of Washington, D.C., is the first group of contractors to officially throw their hat in the ring to bid on the future home of Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals.

The three companies formed a joint venture to pursue the project. The team members have a 30-year history of working together on large public projects throughout the United States. Combined, the companies have been involved in building fifteen major league facilities, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Md., and Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, Pa.

Clark worked with minority-owned Smoot Construction to build the $650 million, 2.3 million-sq.-ft. Washington Convention Center. Clark and Hunt's most recent joint ventures include two expansions of McCormick Place convention center facility in Chicago, which totaled $1.5 billion.

Calvert Mercer Lombard Grant Street Developer Chosen

BALTIMORE, MD - Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, upon the recommendation of the Baltimore Development Corporation, recently selected the CityScape development team to redevelop a site bordered by Calvert Mercer Lombard and Grant streets.

The group's proposal includes 300 apartments, retail space of approximately 6,500-sq.-ft. and a 542-space parking garage. Project costs are estimated at more than $71 million.

The group includes Calvert & Lombard LLC, Calvert & Lombard Parking LLC, Joseph Haksins Jr. and Savannah Development.

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