Detroit construction company cries foul over city sewer contract; city insists best bid was selected

Posted at 5:58 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 00:31:19-04

Lawyers for a Detroit construction titan today alleged that the Detroit Water and Sewerage improperly scored bids for a major $400 million sewer replacement contract.

DCIP, a group of Detroit-based companies led by the construction firm Walbridge, was one of three bidders vying for work to replace some 375 miles of city sewers over five years.

But the Water and Sewerage board didn't select DCIP's bid. Instead the board selected AECOM, a national construction firm. At a public meeting Wednesday afternoon, DWSD officials said that AECOM submitted was clearly the best of the bids, and graded the company higher for its plans.

But a lawyer for DCIP insisted today that the company's bid represented a $19 million savings to taxpayers and showed board members large charts the company produced that compared the two bids.

DWSD officials dispute the savings would be as substantial as DCIP insists, and pegged the savings at closer to $1.5 million.

DCIP's complaints didn't end there: officials also claimed today that after bids were submitted, the city changed the scoring system, putting their bid at a disadvantage and helping their competitor.

After DCIP's presentation, the Water and Sewerage board voted unanimously to reject the company's bid protest.

Water Department officials declined comment after the meeting.