Always wondering how long infrastructure, roads and airport construction are supposed to last, attorney Doug Landau noted an article that stated that the $2.6 billion project extending the D.C. region’s Metrorail Silver Line to Dulles International Airport and into Ashburn had concrete components that were supposed to last 100 years!
However, an article by the Loudoun Times-Mirror revealed that they are not as durable as they should be. To fix the problem, the concrete will have to be periodically coated with a special substance to enhance its durability. The additional costs are supposed to be borne by the contractor and will not delay the anticipated 2020 opening of the Silver Line’s second phase.
Reports indicate that another 60 panels are being replaced because the reinforcing steel mesh is positioned in a way that it could too easily rust. Metro’s Silver Line extension will bring the Metro into Loudoun County after completion of the second phase. Loudoun will spend an estimated $20-30 million annually as part of the Metro Silver Line funding agreement.
What lawyer Landau did not see reported is for how long the errant contractor will be on the hook for the improperly mixed concrete, and on whose shoulders the liability for upkeep or injury will fall for these panels in the future.
Oftentimes, there are “statute of limitations” which set the legal time limit for when a lawsuit can be brought. If an injured victim tried to file their case in court after the statue of limitations has run, then they cannot recover for any of their losses, no matter how egregious the unsafe conduct of the builder, construction crew or product supplier. That is why it’s important to bring valid legal claims promptly.
If these panels are warranted to last 100 years, and someone is hurt 60 years from now because of the improper mix or rusted rebar, what are the chances that any of the witnesses will still be alive, or if they are, even able to remember what transpired 60 years ago? The companies who are at fault may not even be still in existence. Loudoun County had better have made sure that protection was in place for these kinds of “long-tail claims” so that their taxpayers don’t get left holding the bag for someone else’s negligence construction or shoddy materials.