As you can see below, there is a good reason that owners like to use performance bonds. In cases where the first contractor is unable to finish, the bond company is able to go out and find another company to finish the project. What is great about this is that it totally avoids the delay that could be caused by litigation. For example, think about how devastating it would be to the local economy for I-10 to be shut down for two to three years as a case wound its way through the court system.
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Sundt selected to complete I-10 project
Construction is expected to begin again – sometime in the next two weeks – on a major freeway expansion project on El Paso’s Westside.
Tucson-based Sundt Construction has been selected to finish the $154-million project to widen Interstate 10 and extend the frontage roads from Executive Center to Mesa, according to Texas Department of Transportation officials.
Last week, Sundt executives were busy getting sub contractors in place so work could begin, according to Bob Bielek, TxDOT’s El Paso district engineer.
“There is an awful lot of paperwork that has to be accomplished before you can get out and do the actual work,” Bielek said.
The project got underway in February, but work came to a screeching halt about four months later when the contractor, Grupo Tradeco, quit the project. Sundt was selected to complete the project less than two months later.
“This is actually going very, very quickly,” Bielek said.
Usually it takes from six to nine months to get a big road project moving again when a contractor quits, he said, and it’s a fairly rare occurrence.
The delay in El Paso has extended the four-year project’s completion time by 20 working days, and as the completion contractor, Sundt is expected to finish the project on budget.
Sundt, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, describes itself as “one of the country’s largest and most respected general contractors.”
The company has an office at 10767 Gateway Blvd. West in El Paso and has been involved in many large transportation projects in the region. It worked on the $61-million Transmountain West project completed last year, the new William Beaumont Army Medical Center now under construction in Far East El Paso and the Union Pacific Rail Yard in nearby Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
In June, Mexico City-based Grupo Tradeco abruptly quit the I-10 widening project. The company is facing legal problems related to other projects it has underway in Texas and voluntarily defaulted on the contract, according to TxDOT officials.
Since then, the I-10 west on-ramp from Executive Center has been closed and miles of concrete barriers that reduced lane widths have remained in place.
Tradeco is bonded and the surety company, Zurich, was responsible for supplying a contractor to finish the job as planned.
“Any time you have a default and the surety takes over the project, it is a fairly complex process,” Bielek said.
The project is part of $1 billion worth of road improvements now being worked on by TxDOT engineers, as they draw up plans and roll them out, racing to stay ahead of El Paso’s growing population.
Bielek has often referred to the project as “the nightmare,” because it is the one that will probably interfere with travel through El Paso more than any other TxDOT has planned.
It affects 29 bridges along I-10 that will either be widened or replaced, and will require rebuilding the direct-connecter ramps at Sunland Park and Resler, according to plans. The project also involves constructing collector-distributor lanes, a type of frontage road that will provide smoother access to I-10 and an alternative to the interstate.