On April 17, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Rhode Island, announced that Cardi Corporation (Cardi) agreed to pay $500,000 to resolve the Federal Government’s claims that it had improperly installed a crash railing on the Providence River Bridge and its approaches in 2007. Cardi was the primary contractor responsible for construction of the I-195 Relocation-Providence River Bridge project (Contract 7).
The investigation concerned allegations received from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), District of Rhode Island, regarding issues with the reinforcement curb and the anchor bolt assemblies for the crash guardrail system (Two Bar Rail) of Contract 7.
As detailed in the civil settlement agreement, the United States alleged that Cardi installed a Two Bar Rail in a manner that differed materially from the Contract 7 design specification and FHWA-mandated safety standards. The materially different installation methods included cutting, eliminating, or otherwise altering the structurally reinforcing rebar required to properly anchor the Two Bar Rail. As a result, the Two Bar Rail was unsafe, inadequate, and unfit for its intended use. The United States further alleged that this conduct occurred at various locations throughout the area covered by Contract 7. The civil settlement agreement also alleged, and the investigation determined, that the manner in which Cardi installed the Two Bar Rail on Contract 7 had not been approved by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT).
As a result, the United States alleged, Cardi received and retained payments from RIDOT to which it was not entitled. The funds for these payments, which covered both materials and labor costs, were derived in substantial part from grant funds furnished by FHWA.