Seattle Tunnel Partners’ contractor license expired this week. Why? Because the much-delayed Highway 99 project was supposed to be done by now, of course.
Have you checked the fine print on your insurance lately?
This is a good week to learn from the operators of tunnel-boring machine Bertha, whose state contractor license was technically “suspended” for a few hours Thursday, by the Department of Labor & Industries.
It turns out that a required liability-insurance policy expired on Wednesday because Aug. 31, 2016, is the original date Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) hoped to close out the $1.44 billion tunnel contract for the Highway 99 tunnel.
Motorists could be driving through the tolled tube by now, if Bertha hadn’t been damaged in late 2013. The repaired machine is digging satisfactorily this summer, and a tunnel grand opening is trending toward early 2019.
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STP’s contractor-licensing status was relabeled online as “active” by L&I, just before 3 p.m. Thursday.
The tunnel’s 400 trade-union workers did their normal jobs Thursday, said project manager Chris Dixon. A broker began working on insurance renewals a couple of months ago, he said, and the old liability policy has just been extended to Oct. 10, until new insurance deals are arranged.
Contractors have a 30-day grace period to submit proof the new insurance is secured, before an infraction might be issued for working without a current license, said Debby Abe, an L&I spokeswoman.
But the mix-up cost STP some cash anyway.
The tunnel partners, whose parent corporations’ stock is valued near $10 billion, wound up paying L&I a fee of $53.60 to reinstate the license.