C.C. Myers, 85, Was ‘Larger Than Life’ Bridge and Highway Contractor

Clinton “C.C.” Myers, 85, respected in the transportation sector as the ultimate quick-fix bridge repairer, died Feb. 14 in Meadow Vista, Calif. according to his family.

Known for a blunt but fair nature, Myers began cultivating a reputation for fast repair work in 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake in California caused the collapse of a double-decker section of Highway 880 in Oakland. C.C. Myers Inc. crews happened to be working nearby, so the California Dept. of Transportation (Caltrans) enlisted them in emergency efforts to search for victims and stabilize structures.

In 1994, the Northridge earthquake demolished four bridges along the Santa Monica freeway in southern California. The firm won the rebuilding contract and used round-the-clock shifts to finish the work in just 66 days—74 days earlier than estimated—earning it a $14.8-million bonus, the largest ever awarded by Caltrans at the time.

Randell Iwasaki, a former Caltrans director, recalls asking Myers about the completion, with the contractor recounting how he incentivized his teams to push themselves, with promises of Little League sponsorships and dinners. “He was like Paul Bunyan, larger than life,” Iwasaki says. “He was a grounded, down-to-earth guy at the end of the day and a fair contractor.”

William Casey, a former Caltrans district director of construction, adds: “When the chips were down and all looked dire, he was one of those contractors who rose to the occasion. He would step up and make it happen by thinking outside the box. He took risks most contractors would not. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, but California infrastructure benefitted from him.”

In 2007, a Myers team repaired a 165-ft-long segment of Interstate-580 burned in a truck accident in Emeryville in 18 days instead of 50. That same year, his crews lifted out a 6,500-ton slab of road connecting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to Yerba Buena Island and replaced it with a fully constructed deck 11 hours ahead of schedule.

Myers was cited as an ENR Newsmaker that year for those efforts.

Drawn to Bridges

Myers was the second-oldest of 13 children, growing up in a farming family in Highland, Calif. When he was 16, he moved to Long Beach and found work building houses and schools. On his way to and from those jobs, he often passed a bridge construction project, and the contractor eventually hired him. According to his family, he said that after one week, he knew “building bridges would be my life.”

Myers started MCM Construction, a highway and bridge-building business near Sacramento, with his brother Richard Myers and Jim Carter in the early 1970s. In 1977, he founded C.C. Myers Inc., based in Rancho Cordova.

The firm ran into problems due largely to the recession, its officials said. In 2008, Myers filed for personal bankruptcy but two years later, with his son Clinton, he started a new company in Sacramento called Myers & Sons Construction.

“He’s fair and he treats people right, and that will get you a long way in life,” Carl Douglas, owner of Stinger Welding, the Coolidge, Ariz., steel fabricator on the Emeryville job, told ENR in 2008.

“I think growing up in the industry the way he did—starting from carpenter all the way up the ranks—taught him how important it is to take care of all your resources and people,” said Tom Holsman, then-CEO of the Associated General Contractors of California. “You will never wonder where you stand with C.C. Myers. His directness is something to be both respected and feared.”

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