Problems keep expensive traffic management center unfinished

Local News

The City and County of Honolulu says it has terminated the contract for Watts Constructors LLC.

The company is the general contractor for the $53.6 million Joint Traffic Management Center which is located on the corner of Alapai Street and King Street.

The city said it is terminating the contract with Watts “because of its failure to remedy numerous material defaults under the construction contract with the city.”

The city sent a letter to Watts’ sureties, American Home Assurance Company and Zurich American Insurance Company, asking that they immediately assume Watts’ contractual duties or pay monetary damages in the amount of the bond.

In February, the city sent Watts a letter, notifying the company of its defaults under the construction contract.

Officials say they also allowed Watts to correct those defaults, but the city said “substantial process has not been made” and “significant defective work remains.”

The city cites problems with the roof, flooring, and fire escape stairways.

“The Termination Letter and the letter to the sureties were issued only after many opportunities had been given to Watts to correct the various defaults,” Donna Leong, the city’s Corporation Counsel said. “Unfortunately, Watts did not address the defaults by taking necessary corrective actions and did not provide sufficient resources and personnel to correct those defaults. The city is taking this action because of Watts’ continuing delays, as we need to complete construction of the JTMC.”

Watts began work on the Joint Traffic Management Center on April 29, 2015, and was required under the contract to complete the work on June 14, 2017. 

The city says out of the more than 110 reports issued to Watts for non-compliant work, about two-thirds remain uncorrected. 

A new construction completion date has not yet been set by the city pending a response from the sureties. The Joint Traffic Management Center is a city and state project to improve traffic management on Oahu.

It will house the city’s 911 call center and serve as an operations center during major events that affect traffic.

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