The Consorcio Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca (CCRC), the Spanish company responsible for managing construction of the tranvía, is demanding an additional 487 days to complete the project. CCRC claims that the extra time is needed due to design changes and “economic conflicts” with the city of Cuenca.
CCRC was kicked off the project in October by Mayor Marcelo Cabrera after it suspended operations. The project has continued since then under city supervision, with almost all work concentrated in the historic district.
The contract extension dispute is the major sticking point in negotiations between CCRC and the city, which are continuing through the office of the attorney general.
Guillermo Argudo, city project coordinator, says that CCRC’s extension demand is unacceptable and is grounds for unilateral contract termination by the city. “All payments to CCRC are up to date and there are no outstanding issues with the project design,” he says. “They have no valid excuse for the delay, just as they had no valid excuse for walking off the job. The city will proceed with ending the contract and hiring new management.”
Argudo says the city’s legal department is studying the implications of ending the contract but says there is no alternative at this point. He says CCRC will be charged daily fines after December 31 until contract termination is official.
The conflict with CCRC has created contract issues with the French company Artelia, which is responsible for project quality control. Due to delays, Artelia is not able to conduct its inspections on schedule. Argudo says talks are underway to extend the Artelia contract.