Engineering Firms in the Cross-hairs

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Two national engineering companies are in the cross-hairs of the Delaware Department of Transportation.

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has filed suit against Florida-based Figg Bridge Engineers and its subcontractor, Atlanta-based Mactec Engineering, for alleged geotechnical engineering errors involved in a failed effort to build a new bridge over the Indian River Inlet in Sussex County, Delaware. According to a Press Release issued by the State of Delaware, as embankment construction was nearing completion in early 2007, excessive settlement, bulging, tilting and other deformation of the embankment walls were observed. After investigation, DelDOT concluded that the embankments would pose continual and costly maintenance, as well as construction and safety risks and should be replaced with elevated roadway approaches to the new bridge. The Federal Highway Administration, which is providing a large portion of the funding for the replacement bridge, agreed with DelDOT’s conclusion to remove the embankments.

The lawsuit states that the deficiencies in the embankments are directly attributable to the failures and omissions of MACTEC, and that MACTEC, as sub-consultant to Figg, breached the standard of care that it owed to DelDOT. The facts in the complaint “are based upon comprehensive studies prepared by the engineering firm of O’Connell & Lawrence, Inc. and the geotechnical consulting firm of Golder Associates, Inc., as well as observations of experts made during deconstruction of the embankments. “ The lawsuit specifically alleges that...

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