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April 19, 2013 at 9:12 PM

King County awarded $144.3 million in lawsuit against tunneling contractor

A Superior Court order awarded King County $14.7 million in legal fees Friday in a dispute over a tunneling project for the Brightwater sewage-treatment plant in Woodinville.

The court also denied any post-trial motions to appeal a jury’s decision in December to award the county $129.6 million in damages. That action may keep sewage bills from increasing as much in the next few years, according to a county official.

King County filed the lawsuit against VPFK in 2010 with claims that contractors failed to meet deadlines after two boring machines broke down hundreds of feet into the ground. VPFK — a joint venture of Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Parsons, and Frontier-Kemper Constructors — had been given a $212 million contract to bore two Brightwater tunnels after a bidding process in 2006.

The head of the county’s Natural Resources and Parks Department, Christie True, has said in the past that the award granted the county could keep sewage bill rates from increasing as much in the future.

“That money would come back, most likely meaning we’d borrow less for a future project,” True said in December, when she estimated monthly rates could go up $3.96 by 2015 without the lawsuit money.

Brightwater’s $1.8 billion treatment plant opened in Woodinville in 2011. Its 13-mile tunnel carries treated waste to Puget Sound.

Comments | Topics: Brightwater, lawsuit, Woodinville

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