WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News

VDOT Cancels I-81 Contracts

June 15, 2010

The Virginia Department of Transportation has terminated two five-year maintenance contracts for Interstate 81 worth $56 million, saying the contractor didn't meet the requirements.

VDOT spokesman Jeff Caldwell said Infrastructure Corp. of America was notified of the decision Monday night.

Linda Cheatham, VDOT's head of procurement, sent two letters Monday to ICA Chief Executive Officer CEO Butch Eley that said the company has a "record of historical failure to perform" and failure to take corrective actions. The letters cited nonperformance incidents in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, including the company's failure to remove snow and ice during a December 2009 snowstorm that stranded hundreds of motorists.

"They have to keep the travel lanes passable and safe for all motor during snow events," Caldwell said. "There was still snow on the roadway and all travel lanes were not clear and passable."

ICA President and CEO Butch Eley said Tuesday in a statement that VDOT mischaracterized the company's performance and disregarded contract provisions for extraordinary weather. He said ICA has met its contractual obligations.

"VDOT has on multiple occasions acknowledged that the multiple storms of last winter were a unique occurrence, accurately describing the season as the 'worst winter weather in a century.' Indeed, the season had no less than four major storms, at least one of which featured rates of snowfall not experienced in more than a generation," Eley said.

Eley also questioned the timing of VDOT's decision. He said it followed ICA's attempt to collect nearly $2.5 million in costs that it is due under the contracts. Eley said ICA was assessed more than $2.3 million in penalties after it billed VDOT for these costs.

"ICA continues to employ its best efforts, exercising good faith, to resolve the issues of disagreement. VDOT's actions today, however, indicate it has selected a very different path to resolve this matter," Eley said.

Caldwell said VDOT crews will now handle I-81 maintenance and emergency response.


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