The MBTA today sued the manufacturer of faulty concrete ties used on the Old Colony commuter rail line, demanding that the company pay for the $91.5 million the T says it will have to spend to replace the ties.
The 147,500 ties sold by Rocla Concrete Tie Inc. to the MBTA were marketed with a 50-year life span and sold with a 15-year warranty, but several thousand of them began crumbling and cracking just a decade after the Old Colony resumed service in 1997.
"When confronted with the discovery of the defective ties, Rocla admitted that the MBTA would need to replace the entirety of the concrete ties installed on the Old Colony Line and that its concrete ties should never have been marketed as having a 50-year life span," the T said in the lawsuit filed today in Suffolk Superior Court.
A spokesman for the Colorado-based Rocla did not immediately return a call seeking comment today.
Last month, the T said all of the ties would have to be replaced, starting this summer, to keep the trains running safely and on time.
Problems with the ties have already forced the T to impose speed restrictions and slowed travel times for riders on the Old Colony branches to and from Plymouth/Kingston and Middleborough/Lakeville.
The replacement project, scheduled to begin in August and last nearly two years, will require the T to cancel all weekend service on those branches and to replace midday rail service with buses.
Trains will continue to run during peak commuting times, albeit in reduced speeds over areas with faulty ties. The T's upfront investment in the tie replacement work will also divert funds from previously prioritized projects planned by the cash-strapped transit agency, officials said.
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