California’s most famous freeway fixer, Myers Inc., is bankrupt

The repair of Interstate 5 in Sacramento in 2008 was one of several major C.C. Myers, Inc. projects.
The repair of Interstate 5 in Sacramento in 2008 was one of several major C.C. Myers, Inc. projects. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

C.C. Myers Inc., one of California’s highest-profile freeway builders, has filed for bankruptcy, ending a storied chapter in local construction.

The Rancho Cordova company, no longer associated with founder C.C. Myers, fell into financial difficulty in recent years. It became overleveraged as state highway repair and construction contracts dried up.

The company largely disbanded in January, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District, in Sacramento. The filing turns the company’s remaining assets over to the court to be distributed to creditors.

A company spokeswoman, Linda Clifford, issued a brief statement, noting the company’s nearly 40-year history.

“Faced with increasing market challenges and inconsistent transportation funding, C.C. Myers Inc., is closing its doors for good,” said Clifford, the company’s chief financial officer. “We’ve been engaged in a deliberate process over the last several months to ensure a smooth transition, especially for our employees.

“We are proud of the standard of excellence and professionalism C.C. Myers Inc. employees exhibited throughout the company’s history.”

The company, founded in 1977 by C.C. Myers, gained national recognition in 1994 when it rebuilt sections of the Santa Monica freeway section in just over two months after they were destroyed by the Northridge earthquake. Myers earned a $15 million bonus from the state for getting the work done in half the time expected.

The company pulled off another high-pressure coup in 2007 when it quickly rebuilt an elevated freeway section in the “MacArthur Maze” interchange near the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after a tanker truck crash caused a major fire that melted part of the freeway.

A year later, though, founder C.C. Myers filed for bankruptcy protection during the recession and lost the company. It re-formed as an employee-owned venture. C.C. Myers formed an unaffiliated new company in 2010 called Myers & Sons, which also does freeway contract work with Caltrans in the Sacramento area, and competed for jobs with the original Myers company.

Myers Inc.’s last major project in the Sacramento area was the “Across the Top” Interstate 80 reconstruction project, which is still ongoing. Myers dropped out of that project in January, turning control over to a co-contractor, Bay Cities Paving & Grading.

The $133 million project, which involves expanding and rebuilding 10 miles of the freeway, from the Yolo County line to near Watt Avenue, is expected to be finished later this year.

Speaking to The Bee in January, then-Myers Inc. President Steve Francis said his company was dropping out of projects in Sacramento, Fairfield, Petaluma and Antioch because of financial troubles. Francis said the company struggled because of competition and a lack of major road projects.

“It’s a difficult market,” he said. “There is not a lot of work, and pricing is very aggressive. The type of projects we have done are few and far between.”

The company was hit earlier this year with several lawsuits for unpaid work.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak