Central Corridor light-rail expenses increase by $11 million

by Branden Largent

Changes to the Central Corridor light-rail contract have increased expenses by $11 million.

Some reasons for the increased price tag include $460,350 for automatic snowmelt systems in stations, $606,000 for a faster skyway to be built, $330,000 for special colored concrete to improve safety and other numerous costs, according to the Star Tribune story.

The Metropolitan Council says that its contingency fund can pay for the added costs, but requests for additional funds by the leading contractor of the line is getting some backlash.

Walsh Construction, which is building seven of the line’s 11 miles, is asking for an additional $2.3 million, but the Metropolitan Council is hesitant to give in.

Walsh originally bid $205 million to win its building contract, but apparently the company didn’t plan on how they would pay for installation of sewer mains.

“There is no clear documentation that we see that Walsh has an argument to attempt to recoup a mistake in their bid,” Metropolitan Council New Rail Projects Director Mark Fuhrmann told the Star Tribune.

Dean Thomson, a Minneapolis attourney specializing in construction litigation, told the Star Tribune that the government might be sympathetic if the bid miscalculation was clerical, but otherwise they won’t be very generous to the contractor.