State Supreme Court to hear challenge of rebuilt I-35W bridge contractby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to review a claim that the state's process for selecting a contractor for the new Interstate 35W bridge was flawed.
Scott Sayer and Wendell Phillippi had sued the Minnesota Department of Transportation over the process and had even tried to block the construction of the new bridge. The bridge was built by Colorado-based Flatiron-Manson, which received the highest score in the transportation department's selection process.
A district court had rejected attempts to block construction, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals had agreed to review Sayer and Phillippi's claims as taxpayers that MnDOT illegally spent public money in awarding Flatiron the contract.
The Court of Appeals rejected the challenge in July, prompting the plaintiffs to ask the state Supreme Court to review the decision.
The high court said this week that it will review the case, which could have implications for Minnesota's "design-build" law in which a review panel determines the proposal that represents the best value rather than simply the lowest-cost option.
The new I-35W bridge opened in September 2008, a little over a year after the old one collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people.