Lafayette Regional Airport officials are withholding a final payment to a construction company whose $6.15 million refurbishment of the airport’s main runway three years ago left small holes in the surface, according to a lawsuit filed against the Lafayette Airport Commission.
Diamond B Construction Company claims in the suit, filed in 15th District Court in Lafayette last week, that it has not been fully compensated for the work completed in 2013. The company said the project included mixing and pouring 31,000 tons of asphalt to overlay the airport’s main runway, which stretches 8,001 feet northeast to southwest near U.S. 90.
The runway remains in operation.
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Contacted this past week, airport Director Steven Picou and the airport commission’s attorney, Stephen Oats, declined to comment. They cited commission policy of not commenting on ongoing or pending litigation.
Diamond B says in the suit that airport officials paid all of its invoices except the last one totalling $601,201, which was held after a post-project inspection in 2013 turned up “pop-outs” — small holes on the asphalt’s surface.
“Because the ‘pop-outs’ did not affect the structural integrity of the runway, (the) runway was placed back into service,” Diamond B’s suit states.
In February 2015, Diamond B says in the suit, the company completed repairs using agreed-upon specifications and procedures devised by both airport and company officials. But an inspection in July 2015 by airport officials only — Diamond B says it was not invited to the inspection and knew nothing of it beforehand — showed more pop-outs that required more repairs.
This past February, Diamond B sent a report composed by an expert to airport commissioners that indicates the surface defects are not structural defects. The report also says the repairs made by the company were appropriate and they will last.
“Neither (the airport commission) nor its engineer has ever provided Diamond B with any expert opinion or empirical data to refute the conclusions of Diamond B’s expert, nor has the commission provided any objective evidence of any material defect in the asphalt runway,” the suit says.