A Texas-based contractor has filed a lawsuit against the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department over the department’s cancellation of a $77.6-million bridge contract for alleged failure to document disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) involvement efforts. The department has made a claim against the contractor’s bid bond.
The contractor, Roanoke, Texas-based Johnson Bros. Corp., had in January submitted a very low bid to replace a bridge carrying highway I-40 over the White River between Little Rock and North Little Rock. The second-low bid came in about $40 million higher.
Filed in the Pulaski County circuit court of Arkansas in Little Rock on March 9, Johnson Bros. names as defendants the state’s highway commission, the commission members individually and the department’s chief engineer. The petition requests judicial review of February administrative decisions that found the contractor’s efforts to involve DBEs in the project insufficient, reject the bid, make a claim under the bid bond and ban the contractor from rebidding on the project.
The petition also claims that the highway commission took no action on a petition to review the department’s decision and request for injunctive relief.
State officials had conditionally awarded the contract to Johnson Bros. Corp. based on the company’s low bid.
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