Santa Clara County officials on Tuesday held their final meeting with Turner Construction to decide if the company will stay on or be fired from a much-delayed $300 million hospital project.
Although officials for both sides struck a so-called confidentiality agreement on the meeting, the county sent the construction company an ominous message shortly after the discussions ended.
As NBC Bay Area reported, Turner is working on two projects at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center site – the more high-profile hospital bed building as well as an underground utility system known as the utility loop.
Turner Construction is under fire after an NBC Bay Area news report revealed the hospital building scheduled to open Sept. 19 is was actually years away from being ready.
County officials sent Turner a ‘default’ notice indicating that they intended to fire the construction company from the project, which was supposed to house the medical center’s rehabilitation programs as well as intensive care, maternity and burn units.
County executive Jeff Smith said he believes Turner did not take the hospital project timetable seriously and even diverted subcontractors to work on the 49ers Levi’s Stadium project instead.
Turner Construction adamantly denied the allegation and proposed plans to get the hospital project back on track.
But shortly after today’s meeting, NBC Bay Area learned county officials sent a default notice to Turner on the utility loop system, indicating the construction company now faces being fired from both projects.
A steam explosion occurred at the underground utility loop last year and a worker suffered minor injuries. The county released a video of the incident last week and said it showed Turner has safety issues it needs to address.
But Turner told NBC Bay Area that it took responsibility for the steam explosion and questioned the timing of the tape release.
This news station also learned that the county is demanding Turner not only address the safety issues but stick to more rigid construction deadlines guaranteed by a multi-million-dollar line of credit from the construction company against further delay costs.
The county is expected to make a decision on Turner’s future role in both projects by the end of the week.