Contractor Working on I-35W Bridge Sues

By Ivy Chang | September 28, 2010

Progressive Contractors Inc. (PCI), the contractor resurfacing the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis when the bridge collapsed, is suing the state of Minnesota and the engineering firm that now owns the design of the original bridge.

PCI added the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., as defendants in four lawsuits brought by victims of the bridge collapse last November. In that suit, victims allege that PCI was negligent in placing hundreds of tons of equipment and construction materials on the bridge while it removed sections of the bridge deck.

Victims also sued consulting engineering firm URS, hired from 2003 to 2007, to evaluate the bridge. PCI claims the state and the engineering company should pay any damages awarded against PCI, including legal bills and losses it suffered in the bridge collapse.

PCI had no knowledge of under-designed gusset plates

The third party complaint, as this filing is known, said that PCI was not in a position to know about the under-designed gusset plates on the 40-year-old-bridge, which federal investigators claimed caused the bridge to collapse on August 1, 2007.

In addition, the lawsuit said the state had a duty to warn the company about the gusset plates, and Jacobs Engineering should be held responsible for the design flaw. Jacobs Engineering bought the business that designed the original bridge.

An attorney representing PCI said the business lost millions of dollars in workers’ compensation claims alone and hundreds of work hours. The company is seeking several million dollars in damages.

An attorney representing Jacobs Engineering Group said that in one way or another, all key players of the I-35W Bridge collapse will be in the lawsuit and that is appropriate because the jury can decide each participant’s role and the damages involved.