Proclaimed a “Local Hero,” Clinton “C.C.” Myers was lauded on the cover of the July 1995 issue of Comstock’s magazine for “working miracles in heavy construction.” Three big projects by C.C. Myers Inc. cemented his legacy: rebuilding two bridges in Watsonville after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake; reconstructing the Santa Monica Freeway after the 1994 Northridge earthquake; and rebuilding a stretch of Interstate 5, including a bridge, near Coalinga after the 1995 floods. He was equally famous for the efficiency of these projects — 55 days in Watsonville, 66 days in Santa Monica and 21 days in Coalinga — and the huge bonuses he earned for finishing projects early.
“The state charges a penalty for every day we’re short,” Myers said in 1995 after completing the Coalinga project 29 days early and earning an $870,000 bonus. “Why shouldn’t I get a bonus for every day I’m early? It should go both ways.”
The Santa Monica Freeway project brought Myers and his company worldwide recognition and many honors and awards, including Gov. Pete Wilson proclaiming him “the miracle worker of the Santa Monica Freeway.” The Associated General Contractors of California honored him with the 1995 Constructor Award for his company’s “contribution to the community” and for “meeting the challenge of the difficult job — heavy engineering.”
Comstock’s featured Myers on its cover again in October 2014, calling him “The World’s Fastest Man,” after his company, Myers & Sons Construction, completed the Fix 50 project, a restoration of the W-X viaduct, six days ahead of schedule.
The story recounted Myers’ fall — “bankruptcy forced C.C. Myers (the man) to leave C.C. Myers (the company),” reporter Jeff Wilser wrote, about his departure from his company in 2008 — and rise again in his new company, Myers & Sons Construction, with his son Clinton. Ironically, C.C. Myers Inc., which became employee owned when its founder departed, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2016.
Myers, now 81, and Myers & Sons are busier than ever. “We have 30-some contracts spread over the United States,” he says. “It’s not just bridges; we do roadwork, water treatment plants, sewer treatment plants.”
Among Myers’ favorite projects:
- Santa Monica Freeway.
- Bay Bridge in 2007, replacing a 350-foot section of the bridge’s top deck immediately east of the Yerba Buena Island Tunnel; “We rolled it in on Labor Day weekend,” he says.
- Rebuilding a section of “The Maze,” a large freeway interchange near the east end of the Bay Bridge in Oakland, in 2007 after a gasoline tanker exploded into a fireball and destroyed more than 160 feet of the upper deck. “I did that job in 17 days,” Myers says, explaining that materials had to be brought in from across the country, including steel from Arizona. “We opened (it) in 17 days. How in the hell did we do that?”
Looking toward the future, Myers says while he’s still president, his son, Clinton, 40, “has basically taken the bull by the ring. I’m dependent on him. … Eventually, he will be in charge.”
This is the second of a five-part retrospective series on former magazine cover subjects in celebration of Comstock’s 30th anniversary. The third part will be published online next Monday, or pick up a copy of Comstock’s magazine to read the full series.
In the 1989 cover story, “Phil’s Fresh Perspective,” Phil Angelides talked about the Southern Pacific railyards project in downtown Sacramento and a proposed 800-acre “pedestrian-pocket” village that would become Laguna West. He’s pictured on the cover at the historic rail station on I Street in downtown Sacramento.