MARYVILLE, Mo. — In a special meeting Wednesday, the Maryville City Council voted to terminate an agreement with Blue Nile Contractors after the company stopped working on a sanitary sewer improvement project worth more than a half-million dollars.
Last year, the council approved a contract with Blue Nile, of Birmingham, Missouri, for construction of the Eastside Sanitary Sewer Replacement Project. The project will replace an undersized, 21-inch sanitary sewer main located along the south side of U.S. Highway 136 from Nucor LMP to the wastewater treatment plant.
City staff reports have said that the existing line is in poor condition, leaving the system vulnerable to significant amounts of inflow and infiltration of storm water. The project will replace the 21-inch line with a 36-inch main to address the existing water volume and give some extra space for increased capacity in the future.
Including a change order approved in September, the contract with Blue Nile was for up to $622,185.32.
However, City Manager Greg McDanel said that shortly into 2021, work came to a sudden halt.
“In early February, construction activities at the site appeared to cease, and the contractor ultimately removed equipment from the site,” McDanel said.
The city then began receiving unpaid material invoices from suppliers claiming nonpayment by Blue Nile.News reports from other Missouri municipalities show that the project in Maryville is not the only one Blue Nile abandoned early this year as the company apparently faces financial trouble.
Typically, in large public projects, contractors are required to submit a payment or surety bond to ensure payment to subcontractors and other vendors — like material suppliers. After the city began receiving the unpaid invoices, city officials discovered that no valid payment bond had been submitted.
“It was just an item that we missed, unfortunately,” McDanel said.
McDanel said that city attorney Taryn Henry is considering legal options to ensure the city faces minimum liability for the unpaid invoices.
So far, the city has paid $281,656.77 to Blue Nile for the project, which is about 65 percent completed. That leaves more than $340,528 in the city budget to complete the project.
After revoking the contract with Blue Nile, the council voted to award a contract to Pyramid Excavation & Construction, of Kansas City, for up to $254,288 to complete the construction. Public Works Director C.E. Goodall said the project superintendent under Blue Nile now works for Pyramid and will head up the project for them as well, and utilize existing materials already on-site. Goodall said Pyramid anticipates completing the project within 30 days, weather permitting.