The legal tussle between the city of Havre and Kincaid Civil Construction has ended with Havre coming out on top. The conclusion is that Havre did not violate its Bullhook Storm Drain Project contract.
Thanks to the bid bond, the city has lost only time and will not be on the hook for more project expenses, Havre City Public Works Director Dave Peterson said Thursday morning. Now it’s up to the bonding company to find another contractor to finish the job Kincaid started.
Kincaid’s argument, Peterson said, was the city didn’t pay in a timely manner, thereby violating a clause in the contract.
“Kincaid felt that we had defaulted on the contract,” Peterson had said. “We disagreed.”
The city, however, believed Kinkaid breached the contract by initiating a winter shutdown that was never authorized, Havre City Council President Andrew Brekke had said.
The $1.9 million Bullhook storm drain project, officially named the Storm Water Facility Improvements, begin September 2016, broke for winter in December of that year, and has stalled ever since.
The purpose of the project is to upgrade a deteriorating drainage system by installing concrete culverts and replacing the old ones in the Bullhook drainage ditch, which runs from south of the city and through the city before draining into the Milk River.
The legal kerfuffle began, Peterson said May 2017, when Kincaid, of Mesa, Ariz., never returned to work. The culverts sat, waiting to be installed, while both sides duked it out through legal representatives.
In July 2018, 36 more culverts were dropped off in Havre, onsite between Third and Fourth avenues on Eight Street. They were built by Forterra Pipe & Precast. By the time Kincaid had left, Peterson said in July, Forterra had built a lot of them. The city paid for all of them and had them shipped despite the project delay to avoid paying 2018 prices. The city paid 2016 prices for them, Peterson said. Depending on the design, some of the culverts cost $6,000, some $4,000, and others $3,800.
While there’s a slight chance work can resume this year before winter grips the area, the more likely outcome, Peterson said, is work will resume in the spring.
“I’m glad about the result, it’s too bad that it had to get to this point and take as long as it did to get here,” Brekke said, “but we are very happy with the result.”
No one from Kincaid replied to request for comment on the arbitration result by publishing time.