Metro, Montgomery County sue 3 firms for 'collective failure' in Silver Spring Transit Center



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SILVER SPRING, Maryland — Metro and Montgomery County have filed a $166 million lawsuit against contractors that designed, built and inspected the long-delayed Silver Spring Transit Center.

The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1KTxV1B ) reports the complaint filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court accuses three companies of negligence and breach of contract. The suit says their "collective failure" led to five years of delays and $50 million in cost overruns due to substandard work.

The lawsuit was filed against designer Parsons Brinckerhoff, general contractor Foulger-Pratt and inspection firm Robert B. Balter. The suit alleges Parsons Brinckerhoff did not design floors in the transit center that would be strong enough to handle hundreds of buses each day. The suit says Foulger-Pratt failed to properly oversee the project's subcontractors and to complete its work in a timely manner. Balter is accused of failing to ensure concrete used for the structure had the proper strength.

In a statement Friday, Parson Brinckerhoff said the complaint is overblown and incorrect. The company says the lawsuit is without merit and will be defended.

Metro and the county said missteps by the three companies led to cracks and other defects in the new three-story concrete structure. The transit center was envisioned as a bus, taxi and bicycle hub next to the Silver Spring Metro station.

The $120 million transit center is scheduled to finally open to passengers Sept. 20. The lawsuit said the facility would have opened in September 2010 if it had been designed and constructed correctly.

Until a few weeks ago, Metro was seeking millions of dollars from Montgomery County to pay for additional maintenance and repair costs, but the new lawsuit seems to indicate their differences have been settled.


Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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