June 27, 2016

Partly cloudy

Companies sue ODOT over bid rejection

COLUMBUS — Two Medina County companies are part of a suit filed against the Ohio Department of Transportation in Franklin County Common Pleas Court this week.

Hinckley Township’s Great Lakes Construction and Sharon Township’s Ruhlin Co. were involved in a joint venture that competed to design and build the Interstate 90 innerbelt bridge in Cleveland. The two companies and Trumbull Corp. of Pittsburgh formed a collaboration called TGR and submitted a plan for the bridge project to ODOT last month.

Two other teams also submitted plans last month. ODOT awarded the contract on Sept. 10 to Chicago-based Walsh
Construction, which bid $287.4 million. TGR’s bid was $302.9 million.

In its suit, TGR claims Walsh should not have received the contract because it did not follow design requirements from ODOT that relate to the shape of the bridge’s girder.

TGR says it asked ODOT in April if it could deviate from the design requirements for the girder and ODOT denied this request.

“Serious flaws have compromised the process for award of the contract,” TGR’s suit alleges.

It asks the court to stop ODOT from executing its contract with Walsh.

ODOT spokesman Scott Varner said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the suit.

“For the innerbelt bridge project, we put in place a very clear and transparent process to determine a winning team, and we believe we followed that process,” he said.

He also emphasized Walsh’s bid was $15 million less than TGR’s.

“There were a number of factors in that selection process. One of the leading, if not the top category, was price and value,” he said.

TGR is eligible for a stipend of up to $1 million for its project designs. Varner said ODOT then would own TGR’s designs.

“If there was part of their idea that we did like, we would be able to use that,” he said.

Varner said it’s still to be determined whether TGR will accept the stipend.

Representatives for TGR could not be reached for comment Friday.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.