Kiewit: Project complexity slows L.A. Interstate work

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Posted: Saturday, April 27, 2013 12:00 am

Not our fault, contractor Kiewit Corp. said Friday as the Omaha company faced criticism from drivers and some government officials over its work as the prime contractor for the $1 billion-plus Interstate project in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that the Interstate 405 project will take at least a year longer and cost $100 million more than originally budgeted.

Kiewit won praise in 2011 and 2012 for opening a section of the busy freeway ahead of schedule, but the Times story said work may not be complete until September 2014 rather than this spring or, under a revised schedule, December 2013.

“This project has been horribly managed,” Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles County supervisor and board member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is running the project, told the Times. “The performance of contractors has left a lot to be desired. … They've shown a complete lack of sensitivity and empathy for the community in which they're doing the work.”

In a statement, Kiewit said the higher costs and delays are the result of the project's overall complexity and the significant challenges associated with multiple unexpected utility and right-of-way issues. Kiewit said it is committed to working with Metro to minimize future delays and resolve final costs.

“We value our relationship with Metro and are committed to delivering the highest-quality product on the I-405 project.”

Kiewit said it has worked to minimize the project's impact on drivers, completing parts of the work earlier than scheduled. For example, it demolished and rebuilt two bridges 20 days earlier than required and closed an important off-ramp one week less than it was allowed.

The project's complexities include sound barriers that had to be demolished and rebuilt, a legal dispute over ramps near the Getty Center and moving more than a dozen utility lines under Sepulveda Boulevard, all while keeping traffic moving on a major north-south road that carries 300,000 vehicles a day, the Times reported.

Metro said some of the problems, such as the utility lines and legal dispute, were beyond Kiewit's control.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1080, steve.jordon@owh.com, twitter.com/buffettOWH

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