Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Builder of crosstown's elevated lanes sues expressway authority for $21.8 million

TAMPA — Like the roadway's traffic itself, litigation over construction of the elevated lanes on the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway goes on and on.

The latest lawsuit comes from PCL Civil Constructors, the project's builder. Last week, the company sued the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority, saying it is owed nearly $21.8 million for its work.

But a spokeswoman for the expressway authority said Monday that a contract dispute over who should pay what to whom has been going on since 2007.

"It is the expressway authority's belief that we are entitled to recover funds from PCL," spokeswoman Sue Chrzan said.

She could not say how much the authority seeks from PCL, which has been paid $176.5 million on the project so far.

One of the things at issue in the contract dispute is the cost of repairing and finishing the roadway after one of its supporting piers collapsed during construction six years ago. Otherwise, Chrzan said, she could not comment on PCL's claims.

"Our outside counsel and our experts are going to put together the response to the lawsuit," she said.

The expressway authority receives no tax money, but finances its operations through the collection of tolls. The agency conceived the elevated lanes, a $370 million project, as a bold way to move traffic between downtown Tampa and Brandon and Interstate 75.

In the morning, traffic on the 5.5 miles of elevated lanes flows toward downtown. In the afternoon, the direction is reversed as traffic heads back to the suburbs.

In its lawsuit, PCL said it was on schedule before the collapse despite encountering problems in plans and the organization of the work caused by the authority.

Then, during rush hour one morning in April 2004, one of the 224 piers being built to support the roadway sank more than 11 feet in a matter of seconds. About 1,750 tons of concrete and metal collapsed, hurting two workers and creating a V-shaped crease in the deck of the road.

Three months later, a second pier settled more than three-quarters of an inch. Ultimately, repairs cost $92 million and delayed the project's opening by a year.

The authority sued general engineering consultant URS Corp. and its insurers in October 2005. Officials claimed URS did not adequately analyze the soils under the project, which varied from limestone to clay, sand and muck. PCL was added to that lawsuit more than two years later.

In its suit, PCL said the authority concluded that a series of design engineering failures were the "sole cause" of the collapse.

Since June, the authority has settled claims with URS's six insurers for more than $77 million. That was in addition to two settlements with the authority's construction risk carrier and the company that designed the segment over Interstate 75.

But the unresolved claims between the authority and PCL promise to generate more work for attorneys, experts and judges. With its attached exhibits, the complaint alone in PCL's new lawsuit fills three volumes at the Hillsborough County courthouse.

The case has been assigned to a judicial division that specializes in complex business litigation.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

Builder of crosstown's elevated lanes sues expressway authority for $21.8 million 04/05/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 5, 2010 11:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Spring Hill couple arrested on drug charges after months-long investigation


    SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill couple was arrested Wednesday on several drug charges after a months-long investigation by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

    Hernando County Sheriff's Office detectives stand behind 24 pounds of marijuana seized by the agency during a drug bust this week. [Photo by Megan Reeves]
  2. New Pinellas Trail stretch draws raves at opening

    Human Interest

    EAST LAKE — Mike Siebel bikes the Pinellas Trail four days a week and loops up and down the Suncoast Trail at least a couple times every year. A 68-year-old cycling diehard, he was so eager for the opening of the 5-mile segment extending the Pinellas Trail to the Pasco border that he would often drive across …

    Cyclists wait for the official opening of the Pinellas Trail's newest segment. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  3. Authorities recover body of missing boater in Lake Thonotosassa


    THONOTOSASSA — Authorities on Thursday recovered the body of a 44-year-old Plantation man who went missing while boating on Lake Thonotosassa.

  4. Chester Bennington, Linkin Park singer, dies by suicide at 41: Report


    Chester Bennington, the flame-throated singer of enormosly popular metal band Linkin Park, has reportedly committed suicide at age 41.

    Chester Bennington and Linkin Park last performed in Tampa at Steinbrenner Field in 2014.
  5. Fifth worker from TECO molten slag accident dies

    Public Safety

    The June 29 accident at the Tampa Electric Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach claimed a fifth life on Thursday.

    A fifth worker died following a June 29 accident at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. Anthony Perez, 56, an employee of BRACE Industrial Group, died Thursday. [LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES]