During their meeting Thursday, city commissioners will consider a mediated settlement agreement with Baker’s Construction Services, which states that the city will pay $350,000 plus the cost of mediation. The agreement was reached without an admission of fault by either party.
The company had initially demanded $1.1 million in a lawsuit filed in Washington County Chancery Court in August 2019. The dispute was ordered to mediation by Chancellor John Rambo, and the settlement depends on approval by the City Commission.
According to the company’s initial complaint, Johnson City hired Baker’s Construction Services in November 2016 to complete road and bridge improvements to the intersection of North State of Franklin Road and Indian Ridge Road.
The roughly $5.2 million project included widening a two-lane bridge over the CSX railroad to five lanes. Johnson City hired a firm, Gresham Smith and Partners, to develop drawings for the project and another company, Smith Seckman Reid Inc., to provide inspection and oversight.
Tysinger, Hampton and Partners, a surveyor Baker’s Construction hired to monitor the railroad tracks, discovered that the drawings developed by Gresham Smith and Partners had an incorrect elevation for the top of the existing rails, according the complaint. The plans were off by about one foot compared to actual site conditions, a circumstance called a “grade bust.”
That error, the company said, impacted multiple parts of the project and made it necessary for them to complete corrections in the field, which caused extra labor and changed the type of work called for under their contract.
Because of inaccuracies in the drawings, the complaint said, Baker’s Construction was told designs for a retaining wall would need to be redesigned and resubmitted for approval by CSX and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.