Auburn settles with contractor over construction delays

The City of Auburn has agreed to pay a construction contractor$304,261 to settle a claim the contractor filed against the city related to work it performed on a 2020 Arterial Street Preservation Project on 15th Street Northwest.

According to the claim Road Construction Northwest Inc. (RCNW) filed against the city, the dispute centered on unanticipated delays the contractor blamed on the city, which allegedly pushed completion of the project from the summer into the winter months, tacking on an additional 60 days of work.

The now-finished project replaced the pavement, and replaced and up-sized the existing cast iron water main to a ductile iron water main on 15th Street NW from R Street NW to West Valley Highway. The project also grounded and overlaid 15th Street Northwest from West Valley Highway to State Route 167.

The resolution was released after the Auburn City Council returned from a closed-door session March 6.

“The project experienced a few challenges and following the project, RCNW pursued a claim against the city per the contract requirements,” said City Engineer Ingrid Gaub. “Given the uncertain nature of litigation in addition to the time, resources, and expenses involved with any court case, the city agreed to a settlement.”

Among the problems the contractor cited was that by the time the project was to have started, the city had not acquired a crucial storm water permit from the State Department of Ecology.

According to the city’s resolution, the payment of the settlement amount “should not be construed as an admission of liability on the part of the parties,” and that the settlement was reached “merely to avoid litigation and buy their peace.”