Lawsuit: Pflugerville construction firm sues city for $1M over project mismanagement

Weiss Lane Bridge_147453

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — Cash Construction, one of Pflugerville’s top employers and roadwork contractors, has sued the city and accuses it of mishandling a major street reconstruction project on Weiss Lane, causing delays and financial damages, according to the lawsuit.

Cash’s case focuses on the company’s 2017 contract with Pflugerville for street, drainage and utility improvements on three miles of Weiss Lane between East Pecan Street and Cele Road. In 2014 and 2015, voters approved bond money to improve the East Pflugerville road from a narrow and bumpy two-lane byway into a four-lane city street with shoulders, curbs and access to the school district’s new high school. According to Cash, the city failed to meet deadlines for right-of-way acquisitions and relocating utilities, which reduced the company’s productivity and disrupted its construction schedule.

“The City has not properly managed the Project and has improperly processed Project approvals, Project records, the inspection process, change orders, and has failed to adequately fulfill other relevant Project responsibilities,” according to the lawsuit filed in February.

Pflugerville’s attorney in the case, Charles Zech, declined to comment.

Cash, a highway construction firm with over 250 employees based in Pflugerville, is the city’s fifth-largest employer, according to the city’s 2018 comprehensive financial report, which is the most recent report available.

Brian Carroll, Cash’s attorney, said the company attempted to resolve the Weiss Lane project issues through negotiation and change orders, but the city would not come to an agreement.

“We would loved to have resolved this through negotiations, but that was not successful,” Carroll said.

The total project cost $23.2 million, with $7.4 million pitched in by Travis County, according to figures provided by the city.

Cash’s original contract amount for the project was $18,281,393. The company has been paid $18,277,914 so far, but a final payment to the company has not been made yet, according to payment information provided by a city spokesperson.

When doing road construction, first you get the right of way, then you move utilities – such as power, telephone and cable lines – then you can build the road, Carroll said.

“They give us the dates they will have it completed by, and we build a construction schedule to be compatible with those dates,” Carroll said.

Carroll said scheduling problems caused by the city led to delays and lengthened the overall project, but he was not able to provide an exact amount of time for the delays.

“Project records show that Cash ran up against utility conflicts at least eight times and on an almost weekly basis,” according to the lawsuit. “Clearly, these facts show that the city was well aware of the potential negative consequences that utility conflicts could cause to the project and the prevalence with which these conflicts were occurring on the project.”

At one point, Cash was required to reschedule its construction to complete work at Wolf Pack Drive that was necessary to open Weiss High School on time, according to the suit.

Cash is seeking at least $1 million. As of March 6, the city had not filed a response to the lawsuit. Carroll said the case will move into a discovery phase, where both parties exchange records, and said hopefully, the case will be resolved through a settlement.

Cash Construction will continue to bid on City of Pflugerville projects, Carroll said.

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