Published: July 22, 2013
DENVER — The builder of a Veterans Affairs hospital in Colorado wants to quit the project over rising costs after the federal government balked at paying an additional $400 million.
Kiewit-Turner told a federal board it has to stop working until the VA redesigns its hospital to fit the budget or finds more money, the Denver Post reported.
The dispute threatens to cause further delays in the project that has been discussed since the late 1990s.
A complaint filed by Kiewit-Turner said bungled designs and mismanagement contributed to an overrun that is now twice the size of the $200 million figure discussed in January.
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, who serves on the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs and whose district includes the building site, said the delays and cost overruns are inexcusable.
"Our veterans, who have made tremendous sacrifices on our behalf, deserve better than this, and the taxpayers, who are stuck with paying the bill, also deserve better than this," Coffman said.
The new hospital will replace an aging facility in east Denver. It will include a traumatic brain-injury center, nursing care and other clinics.
Kiewit-Turner has said it will continue building, but in a federal complaint the company insisted it is entitled to suspend construction immediately. The federal government has so far denied the company's right to quit, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for Kiewit-Turner did not return a phone call from The Associated Press on Monday seeking comment. The Veterans Administration's Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction issued a statement saying it would not comment because of a possible lawsuit.
The agency told the newspaper the builder was involved in the design process, and the agency has not breached the contract.
Kiewit-Turner said throughout the design phase of the project, the VA's design documents were frequently issued late and were less complete than promised, the Post said.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com