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PA Bridge Bid Spurs Suit

Friday, September 2, 2016

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A bridge-painting firm from Baltimore is suing a government agency that it says wrongly passed it over in favor of another contractor.

According to the Pennsylvania Record, The Alpha Painting & Construction Company filed suit in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, claiming the Delaware River Port Authority of New Jersey and Pennsylvania accepted a higher bid for the painting of the Pennsylvania approach to the Commodore Barry Bridge.

Low Bid

Alpha reportedly submitted a bid of $17.9 million for the job, which is part of a $100 million overhaul announced in 2014. The Record reports that Alpha, in the suit, says DRPA told the company it had failed to submit certain necessary paperwork, including an OSHA Form 300, logging workplace injuries and illnesses.

Commodore Barry Bridge
By Mike LaMonaca, CC-BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr

The nearly 14,000-foot-long Commodore Barry Bridge is made up of 49,000 tons of structural steel and is coated with urethane alkyd paint.

Alpha claims in the suit that it was denied an opportunity to resolve the issues with its bid, and the contract was awarded to Corcon, Inc., which submitted a bid about $10,000 higher than Alpha’s. In the suit, Alpha reportedly holds that Corcon’s plan included a “material, incurable defect.”

Corcon was previously awarded the contract for the New Jersey approach; that job was awarded in late 2014 for work in 2015.

The Pennsylvania approach job was put out for bid in May 2016 and awarded in August. With its suit, Alpha is seeking to stop the job from going forward with Corcon as contractor, and redirect the contract to Alpha, according to the Record. Alpha claims, among other illegal actions, DRPA violated New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s open-records laws in the process of denying its bid.

Alpha History

Alpha Painting & Construction, founded in 1984, was in the news in 2014 when its joint venture with Ohio-based Liberty Maintenance ran into legal trouble in relation to a job on Philadelphia’s Girard Point Bridge. The Federal Highway Administration suspended the firms after company officials were indicted on fraud and other charges, but the suspension was lifted when a jury acquitted the companies later that year.

© / AVNphotolab

Alpha claims in the suit that it was denied an opportunity to resolve the issues with its bid, and the contract was awarded to Corcon, Inc., which submitted a bid about $10 million higher than Alpha’s.

On the Girard job, Liberty-Alpha JV was accused of violating laws relating to nearby nesting peregrine falcons. In the course of that investigation, the joint venture was allegedly found to be employing at least one undocumented immigrant worker as well. In both aspects, a jury found that the company did not commit any crime.

Corcon Background

Corcon, the Ohio-based firm that was awarded the Pennsylvania approach job, has worked on projects including the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. From 2003-2005, the firm performed a rehab of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, overseen by the DRBA.

One DRBA board member reportedly voted against the awarding of the New Jersey approach job to Corcon based on concerns about safety and the notably low cost of the company’s bid for that project.

Corcon has 17 OSHA violations to its name over the past decade, the most recent dealing with sanitation and lead exposure on a 2014 bridge job in New Jersey. In 2012, OSHA reports, a Corcon employee suffered a concussion in a fall from a ladder on a job on the Throgs Neck Bridge in New York.

About the Bridge

The Commodore Barry Bridge opened in 1974 and carries traffic between Chester, PA, and Bridgeport, NJ. DRPA says the bridge carries 6.5 million vehicles each year. The nearly 14,000-foot-long bridge is made up of 49,000 tons of structural steel and is coated with urethane alkyd paint, according to the Authority.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect figure in describing the discrepancy between Alpha Painting's bid and Corcon Inc.'s bid for the Commodore Barry job; according to court documents, the difference was $10,200. PaintSquare News apologizes for the error.


Tagged categories: Bidding; Bridges; Contracts; Government contracts; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; North America; Program/Project Management

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