Last week, we shared with the public
that the dispute review board for the SR 99 tunnel contract had heard and made recommendations on a request by Seattle Tunnel Partners for a differing site condition at the tunnel launch pit. A differing site condition can occur when: 1) actual subsurface or latent physical conditions encountered at the site differ substantially or materially from those indicated in the contract, or 2) unknown conditions at the site are unusual in nature and differ materially from those ordinarily encountered in the type of work.
To clarify, this dispute is related to a differing site condition experienced while building the launch pit; it is not related to the stoppage of the tunneling machine or recent settlement near the access pit. And, there are funds set aside within the existing project budget to deal with differing site conditions.
There has been interest from the public in being able to review the board’s recommendations, which are attached to this WSDOT memorandum
(pdf 880 kb). Because these recommendations are technical in nature, there may be questions about what they mean.
As we review the board’s recommendations on the differing site condition in the launch pit and determine our next steps, we will use the terms in the contract to reach the best possible outcome for taxpayers as we continue to build this critical safety project. We will not be offering our opinions of the board’s recommendations or speculating on next steps until our analysis is complete.
It is also important to remember that the board’s recommendations are just that, recommendations. They are not binding. While STP requested $20 million in compensation for this differing site condition, the board’s recommendations did not address the cost and schedule impacts. Thus it is too early to speculate as to the cost and schedule impacts of this recommendation, should it be accepted by WSDOT.