Miami-Dade County

MCM, bankrupt builder on FIU bridge project, up for extension on airport contract

An aerial view of the collapsed FIU bridge that left six people dead on March 15, 2018. MCM, the contractor behind the project, is up for a contract renewal at MIami International Airport on July 23, 2019.
An aerial view of the collapsed FIU bridge that left six people dead on March 15, 2018. MCM, the contractor behind the project, is up for a contract renewal at MIami International Airport on July 23, 2019. pportal@MiamiHerald.com

The contractor behind the bridge that collapsed last year at Florida International University may win a contract extension at Miami-Dade’s Miami International Airport.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez is asking county commissioners to ratify an extension through August 2020 for Munilla Construction Management for its 2011 contract to run various projects at the government-owned airport.

The contract covers about $130 million worth of work, of which roughly $86 million has been completed. An Gimenez memo said the administration granted the extension administratively in March, and that the extra time is needed to seek competitive bids to replace MCM. It’s not known how long it would take Miami-Dade to seek another contractor, or if anything would prevent MCM from pursuing the business again.

Commissioners would begin that process in September after approving bid documents, followed by a second vote to approve a replacement contractor, MIA spokesman Greg Chin said.

The Gimenez memo said the extension won’t add costs to the original MCM contract, which is still dipping into the $40 million covered under a 2017 expansion of the work that was approved by the commission.

MCM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, saying the FIU bridge collapse had left it unable to borrow the money needed to complete jobs and remain solvent. The company said the bankruptcy protection allowed it to secure $18 million in financing needed to keep crews working, and its website states “our doors remain open and we continue to serve our clients with the level of excellence they have come to expect.”

MCM is in the process of settling claims with victims of the March 15, 2018 bridge collapse that killed six people. The company declined to comment Monday about the potential extension.

Before the bridge collapse, the family-owned Miami company was one of the most successful contractors in local government, with a string of infrastructure and public works projects across Miami-Dade and beyond. It also has won Pentagon contracts for work at the Guantanamo base in Cuba.

A June report by federal workplace-safety regulators faulted the bridge’s designer, FIGG, for producing a flawed structure, and MCM for, among other things, not exercising “independent judgment with regard to implementing necessary safety measures.”

Florida International University recorded a time lapse from three different angles of the doomed pedestrian bridge being raised over Southwest Eighth Street and then collapsing, killing six people. The time-lapse video spans from March 1 to March 19.

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