A three-year dispute over the cost of the Box Canyon Dam’s fish-friendly turbine upgrades has been resolved through binding arbitration.
The Pend Oreille County Public Utility District agreed to pay $10.9 million of the $23 million in disputed claims by Andritz Hydro, which had the contract to replace four turbine units at the dam.
The utility and the Austrian-based company, which has a Spokane office, had disagreed over 41 claims for extra work submitted by Andritz Hydro and penalties for delays for the project, which was 588 days behind schedule.
The total cost of the turbine work comes to $88 million, including the original bid price, 55 previously agreed upon work changes and the arbitration settlement.
“With any project of this magnitude and extended duration there are going to be disagreements,” Colin Willenbrock, the utility’s general manager, said in a Tuesday news release.
By reaching a settlement with Andritz Hydro, Willenbrock said the utility was able to avoid nearly $13 million in extra costs on the project. The utility received a partial credit for the project delays and the company got a partial payment for work changes.
The utility must still install an upstream fish passage facility at the Box Canyon Dam to comply with federal relicensing requirements for the dam on the Pend Oreille River. That project is expected to cost about $35 million and will be finaced through revenue bonds the utility expects to issue this fall.