L train shutdown: MTA picks contractor doing ‘dreadful’ work, board member says

The contractor for the L train shutdown project in the Canarsie Tunnel has done
The contractor for the L train shutdown project in the Canarsie Tunnel has done “dreadful” work on other MTA projects, board member Charles Moerdler said on Monday, March 20, 2017. Above, an L train approaches the Bedford station in Brooklyn on July 25, 2016. Photo Credit: @FDNY via Twitter

A contractor chosen to head the rehabilitation of the L train’s Canarsie Tunnel is already doing “dreadful” work for the agency, a concerned MTA board member vented on Monday.

Pending a full MTA board vote Wednesday, a joint venture of Judlau Contracting and TC Electric will be awarded a $477 million contract to complete the superstorm Sandy-related repairs of the tunnel, which will shutter service to and through Manhattan for 15 months beginning in 2019.

But Judlau was the firm responsible for the high-profile delays of the Second Avenue subway and the ongoing delays to rehabilitate the Cortlandt Street station of the 1 train, according to one board member.

“For those who were not here then and do not have a recollection, Judlau did a dreadful job on the Second Avenue subway,” said board member Charles Moerdler at an agency committee meeting. “It was a cause of delay for completion. Efforts to get into line were unavailing until the governor personally stepped in and made sure they did what they had to do.”

The MTA stood by its pick. Stephen Plochochi, vice president for procurement and materiel at the MTA, acknowledged Judlau’s recent issues but argued that the firm’s full body of work for the MTA “evoked confidence” from the selection committee. That work includes a number of successful Sandy projects: the early completion of the R train’s Montague Tunnel, the rehabilitation of the 7 train’s Steinway Tunnel and the 2 and 3 trains’ Clark Street Tunnel.

“To that end I think it’s fair to say Judlau and its family have a storied history of successful projects, many of which are very similar to the project that we have in front of us,” Plochochi said.

If the contracting team fails to meet a July 2020 deadline for reopening, it would be fined $410,000 per each additional day, according to Plochochi. There is also an additional $15 million allotted on top of the contract that could be used to incentivize an early completion.

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