Teasley Lane at Ranchman Boulevard

The Texas Department of Transportation sent a notice of default to Munilla Construction Management, its construction contractor for the Teasley Lane project, which means the company lost the $35 million contract. TxDOT crews will work to reopen the intersection at Ranchman Boulevard, shown here Wednesday, and take care of the road until a new contractor can be found to finish the job.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. Feb. 15 to include comments received from MCM. 

Construction of FM2181 (Teasley Lane) in southern Denton came to a halt this month after the Texas Department of Transportation found its contractor in default late last month.

Munilla Construction Management won the $35 million contract to widen Teasley Lane from Lillian Miller Parkway to FM2499 and began work in November 2017. But TxDOT pulled the plug Jan. 24 following several issues that included problems with barricades, according to TxDOT spokesman Ryan LaFontaine.

The company was given notice in early January and given a chance to comply but did not.

“They were more than 40 percent behind schedule and there was a deficit with payroll,” LaFontaine said.

TxDOT also heard from subcontractors who hadn’t been paid.

Mike Hernandez, spokesman for MCM, said the company disputes TxDOT's allegations and the default. 

Founded in 1983 and has offices in Irving and San Francisco, MCM was the general contractor for a Miami pedestrian bridge that collapsed during construction, killing six people, in March.

The bridge was being raised over a busy Miami thoroughfare to connect parts of the Florida International University campus. While the full report of a federal investigation of the accident is due out next month, a preliminary report issued in November by the National Transportation Safety Board focused on possible design errors. According to the Miami Herald, the design firm, FIGG Bridge Group, and MCM created a joint venture to design and build the unorthodox bridge span.

In September, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited and fined MCM and four other companies for serious safety violations in connection with the incident. The Miami Herald reported that several civil lawsuits were also filed in the case.

The Denton contract cancellation changes the timetable for finishing Teasley Lane, which was supposed to be completed in March 2020. The job was only about 20 percent complete and it is too difficult to tell right now what the new timetable would be, LaFontaine said.

“We are working with their bonding company now to find another contractor to finish the job,” he said.

In the meantime, TxDOT is sending its own maintenance crews out to fix things as needed.

That will likely include work to reopen side streets, such as Ranchman Boulevard, that were closed temporarily for construction.

“We may put a temporary fix in to reopen the road,” LaFontaine said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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