I-Team 10 Update: Progress made in construction

Created: 12/06/2013 8:03 PM WHEC.com

I-Team 10 has been closely tracking the construction of a steam generation plant at the VA Medical Center in Canandaigua.

It's designed to make the VA more energy efficient, but delays have set the project back more than a year. Crews are now moving full steam ahead. This $15 million project was awarded three and half years ago with your tax dollars through the federal stimulus and should have been completed a long time ago.

But a fight between the VA project manager and the contractor left things at a standstill for than a year. After our investigation and threats of a congressional hearing, it now appears those differences have been ironed out.

News10NBC checked out the site this week and noticed clear progress. Steel framing is now up around the giant generator. When it's completed, the generator will burn wood chips to power the 150 acre VA campus. It's projected to save a million dollars per year in heating costs.

So far, taxpayers have yet to see a single penny of savings. Our investigation uncovered why, legal documents that spelled out a bitter dispute over the building designs. The contractor accused the VA of ordering major changes to the plans but refused to pay for them.

The VA responded by accusing the contractor of bait-and-switch, using inferior materials that were never approved. News10NBC brought the dispute to the attention of Congressman Chris Collins, who ratched up the pressure and threatened to haul the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in front of Congress to explain the delays.

According to the latest project summary posted on the government website, major disputed items have now been resolved with 95% of the construction design documents approved.


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