The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced that an agreement has been reached with Granite Construction Co.’s joint venture, Yaquina River Constructors (YRC), to terminate the U.S. 20 Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville design-build contract. Terms of the agreement include that YRC will pay ODOT $15 million, both parties will waive claims against each other and the notice of default ODOT issued to YRC in March of this year will be rescinded. YRC will no longer have the contractual obligation to complete the project and will demobilize from the project site in an orderly manner.
ODOT determined that the settlement with YRC was in the best interests of the state in order to avoid the delay and costs of protracted litigation and to allow ODOT to move forward with construction on the U.S. 20 Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville project this summer.
Work on the project has been stalled since early 2010, when it was discovered that several of its bridge columns had been moved out of alignment by landslides.
ODOT issued the notice of default to YRC on March 16, after the two failed to resolve a dispute over failed mitigation efforts to correct landslides at the locations of four of the bridges involved in the project. The dispute was submitted to a Dispute Resolution Board, whose recommendation was not binding. ODOT rejected the board’s recommendation and issued the default notice. YRC then had the right to pursue a legal claim. Instead the two parties announced their agreement.
The goal of the U.S. 20 project is to improve 5.5 miles of the highway between Corvalis and Newport by eliminating hairpin turns, eliminating railroad crossings and adding passing lanes.