Judge delays bulkhead trial

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Apparently the city is still hoping to iron out a settlement with the designer and builder of the flawed Constant’s Wharf bulkhead.

The city’s jury trial against Landmark Design Group and Virginia Marine Structures, the Virginia Beach-based companies which respectively designed and built the original bulkhead, was slated to begin Tuesday in Suffolk Circuit Court.

The judge delayed the trial to give the three parties more time to resolve their disputes, said Dennis Craff, the city’s spokesman.

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&uot;There is no court action right now,&uot; he said. Attorneys for the parties have indicated they believe a settlement could be reached, he said.

The waterfront park, located behind the new Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center, was originally supposed to open nearly two years ago.

But the project was delayed in 2002, when the bulkhead being built by Virginia Marine buckled in two spots while it was under construction, according to records. The city fired Virginia Marine and hired a second company, which tore down and rebuilt the bulkhead at a cost of $3.1 million.

According to court records, Virginia Marine filed a suit against the city in 2003 after it was fired from the project.

Then, last fall, the city filed a $4.5 million lawsuit against Landmark, alleging that the company used an &uot;untested and unorthodox&uot; design in building the structure along the Nansemond River.