May 26, 2018
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Rockland settles lawsuit over downtown sewer project

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The city has agreed to settle a lawsuit by paying an additional $90,000 to a company that completed a major sewer upgrade in downtown Rockland earlier this year.

The settlement was reached through a mediation process that concluded two weeks ago, Rockland City Attorney Kevin Beal said Thursday.

Harold Warren Construction of Chelsea filed the lawsuit against Rockland in May, claiming that the city failed to pay it for additional work that was requested. The sewer line upgrade initially was estimated to cost about $2.5 million.

The project was completed during the summer but had begun more than a year earlier.

Beal said the $90,000 the city agreed to pay the company is half of what the firm had sought. The attorney said there was sufficient money left in the project’s budget to cover the settlement.

Retired Maine Justice Robert Crowley served as a mediator, and the lawsuit that was filed in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta was dismissed following the settlement.

According to the lawsuit, shortly after work began, the company found 14 water lines that had not been marked on documents signed by the city and firm. The company also said it found substantial ledge on Main Street that had not been expected. And in November 2011, according to the lawsuit, the company found previously unidentified electrical and fiber optic lines and water mains at the intersection of Limerock and Union streets.

The company claims it gave notice to the city and its engineer that changes were needed and that more money would be required.

When construction ceased for the season in November 2011, then interim city manager Tom Luttrell said someone — either the contractor or the city’s engineering firm. Wright Pierce — should have known about the lines at the Limerock/Union intersection.

The added costs of all the additions amounted to $231,637, according to the city. Rockland received a $2.25 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a $261,5000 grant from the USDA to complete the project.

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