Advisories/Updates

  • Jan. 27 project update

    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.
     

     

    — more —
  • Jan. 22 project update

    It is not uncommon for disputes to arise between owners and contractors during a construction project. One way to resolve disagreements is through a dispute review board. The review board, a panel of three experts chosen by the parties jointly, reviews the facts of a dispute and makes recommendations to the owner and contractor. The SR 99 Tunnel Project contract between WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners established a dispute review board.
     
    In 2013, the board heard arguments related to STP’s request for a change order for work associated with strengthening the Alaskan Way Viaduct in advance of tunneling under it. WSDOT denied this request and the board issued a recommendation that was consistent with WSDOT’s denial. STP may pursue reconsideration, which is allowed under the contract.
     
    In late 2012, Seattle Tunnel Partners requested a change order for an alleged differing site condition in the launch pit at the south portal. STP’s request was for $20 million. WSDOT rejected this request. Last year, both WSDOT and STP agreed to ask the board to make a recommendation and the matter was heard in October.
     
    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.
     
    On Jan. 16, the board submitted its recommendation, which stated in part that a “differing site condition was encountered in the glacial soils and that STP is entitled to relief” to the extent it incurred costs or delays because of that condition. The board did not determine what costs or delays were caused by the differing site condition it identified. STP promptly sent a letter accepting the board’s recommendation.
     
    We are still reviewing the board’s recommendation. As a reminder, the board’s recommendations are just that, recommendations. If WSDOT or STP disagrees with a recommendation, either party can ask for reconsideration or simply move to the next process allowed under the contract. The next steps will be determined after our analysis is completed. 
     

     

    — more —
  • Nighttime lane closures on SR 99/Aurora Avenue North near South Lake Union

    Seattle drivers should plan for possible overnight delays next week on State Route 99/Aurora Avenue North between Queen Anne Hill and Lake Union.

    Closure details

    • From Monday, Jan. 26, through the morning of Friday, Jan. 30, crews will close up to two lanes in each direction of SR 99/Aurora Avenue North between Valley and Halladay streets from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night.

    During the closures, construction crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will continue work to locate existing utilities in advance of upcoming installation of overhead signs.

    — more —

Program Spotlight

  • Information for residents and businesses in Pioneer Square

    Recently, our team detected approximately one inch of ground settlement near the pit Seattle Tunnel Partners is building to access and repair the SR 99 tunneling machine. Settlement was also detected on the Alaskan Way Viaduct and some of the buildings that we are monitoring; the amount of settlement lessens in the surrounding area. Our experts are still analyzing data and conducting daily inspections of the viaduct, but the initial settlement we reported publically on Dec. 5 has since … more