| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free ebook on Ultra-High-Pressure Waterjetting

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Paint Waste Resolved; Bridge Work Resumes

Monday, November 21, 2011

More items for Program/Project Management

Comment | More

A dispute over paint waste that shut down a $4.2 million bridge project for the entire summer has been resolved, defusing commuter rage and averting a divorce between contractor and client.

A three-phase negotiation process, highlighted by a day-long “Facilitated Partnering Session,” finally resolved the project-stopping claims and counterclaims lodged during replacement of the steel deck grating on the 53-year-old Morrison Bridge, the largest mechanical device in Oregon.

 Morrison Bridge, Portland, OR

 Images: Conway Construction

Work on the $4.2 million Morrison Bridge project was idled for months, inconveniencing 50,000 motorists daily.

The lengthy shutdown incensed commuters—the bridge carries 50,000 vehicles a day—and cost the contractor $10,000 per week.

Tarp System at Issue

The dispute centered on the tarp system being used by the contractor—Conway Construction, of Ridgefield, WA—for containment of paint waste and construction debris.

Work on the project had barely begun in June when Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality notified Conway that the containment system had been breached twice in July, dumping paint waste into the Willamette River. A Stop Work Order followed the first breach, and Conway repaired the tarp; a second order was issued after the second breach.

DEQ called the breaches a Class 1 environmental violation but never cited—or even followed up with— the company, president David Conway said last week.

‘The Cadillac of Containment’

Over the summer, Conway noted that the county had approved his tarp system before use and said that the state had produced no evidence of contamination in the river.

Nevertheless, after the second spill, Conway submitted a new containment plan that replaced the tarps with what the company called “the Cadillac of containment options”—an engineered hard deck. The county did not respond to the proposal until Aug. 25, and then with minor modifications.

 Artist's rendering of Morrison Bridge
The new fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge deck has already been installed. The 17,000-square-foot deck is the largest in the United States.

Meanwhile, however, the county issued notification Aug. 2 that it intended to terminate the contract—partly because of project delays and partly because of the paint waste. The parties met for a Termination meeting Aug. 10, when the county rejected Conway’s “cure plan” for the project.

3-Phase Negotiation

At the 11th hour, however, the parties developed a three-phase plan to resolve the dispute:

• Phase I would be a series of Pre-Work Interviews, to identify all issues and concerns.

• Phase II would be a full-day Facilitated Partnering Session, to develop a plan, clarify the “rules of engagement” and deliverables, and build consensus.

• Phase II would be ongoing maintenance and follow-up to monitor progress of the job.

The Partnering Session was held Thursday, Sept. 15. By late the next day, work had begun to resume.

Conway has already completed installation of the deck—the largest fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge deck in the United States. The 50-inch-thick, skid-resistant deck covers 17,000 square feet.

Third-Party Neutral

Critical to the resumption of the work was the hiring of a Third Party Neutral, an advisory individual employed (at shared expense) to help resolve disputes between the engineer and contractor “in order to prevent disharmony, disruption and delay in the work,” according to the contract.

The TPN would not only provide a third-party review and recommendations but aim to head off claims and disputes by identifying potential problems early and facilitating communications.

Each party nominated three individuals for the TPN role. The individual chosen is a licensed professional civil engineer and former chief construction engineer for a state department of transportation with extensive experience as a construction mediator and a claims analyst.

Conway declined to identify the TPN and said his company had not used one before. County officials had no immediate comment on the case.

A Break for Commuters

Although the dispute has already pushed back completion of the project, the county will shut down work again from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day—but this time, the goal is to give commuters a break.

“We’re doing this because we know how important [this] month is for downtown retailers,” county spokesman Mike Pullen told the Oregonian. “We want to help out the business and traveling communities.”

Work will resume shortly after Jan. 1 and will be completed about three months later.

Conway said his company and the county “now have a good working relationship.”

Pullen agreed. "Multnomah County is very pleased that construction has resumed on the Morrison Bridge lift span project.  Conway Construction is making good progress and the rigid containment structure below the deck is performing well,” he said.

“The County believes the partnering session that was held with the contractor before construction resumed this fall helped improve communication and the working relationship between the county and contractor." 


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Containment; Paint disposal; Project Management

Comment from shane hirvi, (11/21/2011, 4:41 PM)

Thanks for the follow-up paintsquare.

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

PPG Protective and Marine Coatings Group
Industrial strength performance in ONE can.

Now get the durability and protection of two components in one can: Amercoat® ONE, PSX® ONE and Sigmadur ONE.

Ethox Chemicals LLC
Ethoflex® ER instantly upgrades your epoxy!

The only epoxy additive that improves flexibility, corrosion resistance, toughness, and adhesion, without hurting pot life, cure time, or increasing VOCs.

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings

Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !

Thermion Inc
Buy Back Program

We are offering $5,000
credit for your old Model
This drive system is
being discontinued by
the manufacturer.
More information at

CS Unitec
Work Cleaner and Safer

CS Unitec’s Vibro-Lo low-vibration scalers offer high performance for greater productivity & improved operator comfort. Optional dust shroud.

Termarust Technologies
Termarust (HR CSA) Chemically Stops
Active Corrosion

Truss bridge treated in 2000 with Termarust's (HR CSA) field-proven rust mitigation system chemically stopped corrosion, crevice corrosion & pack rust.

Polyurethane and Polyurea Sprayed-On Protection

Buy POLYURETHANE or POLYUREA coatings and spray equipment for years of proven chemical resistance, water- and weather-proofing, and structural improvements.

Absolute Equipment/Grand Rental Station
Portable Power from Absolute Equipment

•Lighting Systems
•Light Compaction
Sales • Rental • Service
Call 1-866-931-6655
Over a century of
providing excellence.

U.S. Zinc
Products. Customized With U.S.

Our plant can produce multiple grades of zinc dust. In fact, we offer the most comprehensive product line in the industry, including special additive blends.

SAFE Systems, Inc.
Portable Dust Collectors for Tough Environments

Trailer and skid-mounted models in numerous sizes, powered by electric and/or diesel. Sloped roofs, multiple dust inlets, high static, dampered fans. Lockable power & drive compartments.

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail