Foulger-Pratt files claim for Silver Spring Transit Center delays -- Gazette.Net


Foulger-Pratt Cos. claims Montgomery County is behind much of the delays at the Silver Spring Transit Center.

In a claim filed Jan. 18, Foulger-Pratt said “the County has materially failed to cooperate with Foulger-Pratt and has continuously hindered the development and implementation of a timely and practical plan forward.”

It’s just one of about 35 notices of delay the company has filed since the start of the project, according to company lawyer Judah Lifschitz of Washington, D.C.-based Shapiro Lifschitz and Schram. Foulger-Pratt’s contract “requires notice to be given” when the county “causes delay to the project,” Lifschitz said.

“We’re really, really frustrated,” company Principal Bryant Foulger said Thursday. “[The transit center] should’ve been open a long time ago.”

The Silver Spring Transit Center — a more than $110 million transportation project to be built by Foulger-Pratt on the corner of Wayne Avenue and Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring — will create a transit hub by connecting MARC commuter train service, Metro, Ride On and intercity buses once it is open. A series of cracks discovered in the middle and upper levels of the structure and disparities in the thickness of the concrete have delayed the project’s opening by more than two years.

The transit center is expected to open by September 2013, according to the county’s Department of General Services.

The Jan. 18 claim cites the county’s “failure to timely provide information” to Foulger-Pratt, “refusal to conduct meetings or allow a professional dialogue” between the county’s engineers and consultants and the company’s engineers and consultants, and “failure to timely permit Foulger-Pratt to proceed with its proposed plans ... dated March 15, June 22 and July 26, 2012” to discuss issues with the concrete as the reasons behind some of the delays.

Foulger said the company has asked “repeatedly” for its engineers to meet with the county’s engineers about the remediation, but to no avail. He said if the company was working with the private sector, these issues would have been addressed and resolved “a long time ago.”

Patrick Lacefield, director of the county’s Office of Public Information, said in an email Thursday afternoon that the county has received Foulger-Pratt’s claim and is reviewing it.

“We will respond once we have received the final report from our consultant on flaws in the Silver Spring Transit Center project. Depending on those findings, the County, of course, may be advancing claims of its own on behalf of County taxpayers,” the email said.

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) proposed a $7.5 million amendment to the six-year Capital Improvement Program earlier this month to “prevent further delays” at the transit center. The money is expected to “cover site improvements, utilities, and construction costs needed to prevent further opening delays.”

Rockville-based Foulger-Pratt opened for business in 1963 and has worked with the county on a number of redevelopment projects in downtown Silver Spring, including county garages, the Downtown Silver Spring Retail Center and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Foulger said this is the only county project they are currently working on.

He said the delays with the county on the transit center have been “discouraging.”

Foulger said his company has yet to receive any information regarding the remedial report.

That report will be made public once it is complete, David Dise, director of the Department of General Services, said.

Dise said filing claims is “not uncommon with construction projects.”