County Locks Contractor Out of Valley Medical Center Work Site

Santa Clara County locked a contractor out of the Valley Medical Center work site, blaming Turner Construction for major delays in  the expansion and seismic retrofit project.

County officials and the contractor have been battling over who is to blame after falling hundreds of days behind schedule on two related sites—a hospital bed building and a north utility loop project. The county made its fight unusually public earlier this month by releasing a cellphone video of a Turner subcontractor being blasted out of a manhole by a steam explosion.

“The notice comes after Turner Construction’s failure to make progress on the languishing projects and its failure to submit a satisfactory plan of action to complete the projects in a reasonable time for a reasonable cost,” a county press release stated. “Effective immediately, all Turner Construction employees, and its subcontractors’ employees have been ordered off of the construction site. The construction site has been locked and notice of the work suspension has been posted at the site.”

Turner has blamed the county for holding up progress. Larry Kamer, the company’s spokesman, told the Silicon Valley Business Journal that the stop work order is “another example of bizarre and schizophrenic behavior” by the county.

County spokeswoman Gwen Mitchell said the county released the video the day after someone turned it over to them. The explosion was never reported to Cal-OSHA, according to an agency spokesman.

“The video of this catastrophic failure shows a clear breakdown in design safety and safety protocols on the jobsite by Turner Construction,” county Facilities and Fleet Department Director Jeff Draper said. “It was only through the grace of God that the worker survived this accident.”

The next step could be a letter of termination, which would add even more costs and delays to a project already over budget and behind schedule.

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