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Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 02/03/2012

Foulger-Pratt ‘disturbed’ by county behavior concerning Silver Spring construction project, letter says


(Bill O’Leary - The Washington Post)
It’s to be expected that when the Montgomery County government says a construction project has been bungled, and the project’s contractor says it hasn’t: The contractor gets mad.

Foulger-Pratt — the contractor of a $101 million Silver Spring transit hub whose opening has been delayed indefinitely, which the county has alleged is because of construction problems — echoed those sentiments in a letter on Thursday to County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and Council President Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda).

County officials have said that construction workers have improperly poured concrete on two floors of the Silver Spring Transit Center. This could potentially undermine the structural integrity of the building, they said. It remains unclear whether the problems require replacement, and county officials said a more thorough analysis would be completed by March.

Bryant F. Foulger, a principal at Foulger-Pratt, has said that based on the company’s data, there are no problems with the structure. The company is still waiting to see the county’s reports on the concrete.

In the letter to county officials, Foulger said company officials have been “disturbed” by how the county has handled the situation so far.

“Numerous public comments made by County officials have been premature and likely incorrect,” he said, adding that the comments have inappropriately raised concerns within the community and among company clients.

Foulger asked that county officials no longer comment on the project or release data to the public until they can work together to assess the situation and determine what solutions, if any, are necessary.

Leggett did sit down with The Washington Post on Thursday to discuss the Silver Spring Transit Center. He said he is disappointed by the delay, but believes it must occur because there may be potential safety issues if additional analysis confirms the construction problems.

County officials have postponed the opening of the center several times, most recently to the summer. Because of the possible construction issues, county officials no longer know when the center will open.

Leggett said his officials have considered their legal options, including the possibility of the lawsuit. But he added that the best possible solution would not be the lawsuit. Rather it would be to make use of insurance money tied to the construction project and to get Foulger-Pratt and its concrete subcontractor, Facchina Construction, to “do the work that is needed as quickly as possible.”

Berliner said Friday that Foulger-Pratt must now come up with a plan to address the concerns involving the construction project. Until then, he said, the public discussions “will naturally move into a quiescence mode.”

Both Foulger-Pratt and the county say they are working collaboratively on figuring out what problems, if any, have occurred.

By  |  11:20 AM ET, 02/03/2012

 
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