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Fort Worth sues concrete company over street failures

The city is suing a concrete company over what it says is faulty construction work on some recently built streets and water lines in the Villages of Woodland Springs subdivision in far north Fort Worth.

The suit against Site Concrete was filed late Tuesday in Tarrant County civil court. It alleges that the shoddy work on the part of the company led to streets failing long before they should have needed repairs. Work was also inadequate on water and sewer lines, documents state.

Assistant City Attorney Gerald Pruitt said that Fort Worth has been trying to resolve the problems with Site Concrete for quite some time. He could not say exactly how many streets needed to be repaired, but said the figure is “significant.” Some were patched, others were rebuilt.

A concrete street should last 20 to 30 years before needing repairs, but in the case of the Villages at Woodland Springs, the repairs took place within several years of being built, he said.

“There were premature street failures. We haven’t gotten a lot of reaction from the responsible party,” Pruitt said. “We had a lot of problems with streets caving in over sewers,” Pruitt said.

Officials from Site Concrete could not be reached for comment; a recording said the phone number was no longer in service.

The lawsuit alleges that the company did not meet construction specification set by the city and by engineering firms. Fort Worth also had “community facilities agreements” with several developers, including Sandlin Brothers, to build “community facilities” meaning water and sewer lines, storm drains and street improvements that would be conveyed to the city for public use.

“The City has discovered that the street improvements constructed by Site failed. The street improvements and the water, sanitary, sewer, and storm drain facilities installed by Site were defective and not completed in a good and workmanlike manner and were not properly constructed pursuant to the City's specifications and contract requirements and/or industry standards for the construction of high-traffic areas such as those in the Development,” the lawsuit stated.

The poor quality of the work wasn’t discovered until a “full investigation was completed, and the defects “manifested themselves” over time according to the suit.

Cathy Pepper, who moved to the Villages of Woodland Springs 12 years ago, said shortly after she and her husband settled in to their home, they began noticing streets with big cracks and areas that were caving in around sewer lines. The Peppers are not involved in the lawsuit.

Pepper described how there are still streets in her subdivision that need repairs, and she described contacting the city when she sees potholes and other problems.

In 2009, neighbors complained about the poor condition of the streets which resulted in a lot of finger pointing among city officials, developers and contractors.

Meanwhile, the city is accusing Site Concrete of breaching its contract and its duty to the city to construct the streets, water and sewer lines and storm drains in a proper manner and of failing to do the work in compliance with ordinances, codes and regulations for such construction.

The city is seeking damages from Site Concrete, but did not provide specific amounts in the lawsuit. Fort Worth is also seeking attorneys’ fees.

This story contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.