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US 36 collapse settlement: Construction, design firms will pay $14 million after expanded section failed

July 2019 incident snarled northwest metro traffic for months as CDOT raced to rebuild section
us 36 highway 36 tuesday.jpg
Posted at 10:28 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-07 00:28:39-04

DENVER — Colorado transportation officials have reached a $14 million settlement with a group of construction and design contractors two years after the collapse of a busy suburban section of U.S. 36 — one they’d expanded about five years earlier — snarled traffic for months.

The payout will reimburse the Colorado Department of Transportation for most of the $17.6 million it spent responding to and then quickly rebuilding the eastbound overpass approach near Church Ranch Boulevard in Westminster. In the July 2019 “slope failure,” officials have said, water-saturated clay sank in the embankment, causing the road’s pavement to crack and the retaining wall to sag and buckle.

Six million dollars will be paid to CDOT by a joint venture of Ames Construction and Granite Construction, which led the reconstruction and expansion of U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder from 2012 to 2016. The expansion added a tolled express lane in each direction.

HDR Engineering and Kleinfelder, another design firm, each will pay $4 million, according to the settlement document. All four companies are based out of state. The settlement was finalized in recent weeks and released Friday in response to a public records request.

None of the companies admits liability for the collapse as part of the agreement, but the settlement heads off any legal action by the state that could have resulted in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office filing suit against the companies and seeking even more in damages. After the collapse, the document says, CDOT lodged claims against the Ames-Granite venture, sparking a cascade of claims of fault among the four companies.

Read the full story from our partners at The Denver Post.