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Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Runway Renovation Dispute Settled in Mediation

Friday, April, 10, 2015

A federal lawsuit stemming from renovation and repair work on the runway at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport may be headed for a settlement if airport officials approve a proposed deal hammered out in a mediation process. The work on the runway remains unfinished, and the approval of a settlement would allow the work to be completed.


The lawsuit was filed by the contractor hired to do the runway repairs, W.L. Harper Co. They sued both the airport and the engineering firm hired to oversee the project because they claimed they had not been paid for work or materials as per their contract, preventing them from in turn paying their subcontractors. The amount sought was $9.5 million.


The settlement will see W.L. Harper submitting nearly $4 million in unpaid invoices, but they will not have to provide a long-term service agreement to the airport, which had been a priority for the administrators since the company is not offering any sort of warranty on the work. The airport had counter-sued, claiming there was an “implied warranty” on the work. The runway needed repair due to materials failure in the concrete mix used in the original pour just four years earlier.


Ultimately, the Federal Aviation Administration will, have to approve the settlement before it can be legally enforced. The FAA is funding 90% of the cost of the repairs, and has refused to process invoices on the project until the dispute is settled.