(Listen to the Radio Read HERE)
Recently a friend of mine asked me to look into the status of a couple bridges that were supposed to get built, but never were.
In particular he was most interested in the bridge project that spans across the Eel river in Redcrest -- the West McCann Bridge replacement road.
He told me that between the two bridges, the grant money was about 30 million dollars. I figured that much money something must be going on. Indeed, the County Website discussing the bridge says that construction was supposed to begin this year, but sadly we are no where near that.
I looked into the status of the McCann bridge and determined that it is still somewhere amidst so-called phase One.
Like many construction efforts, This project suffers from the usual nonsense required for a public works project: The math adds up -- 2/3 of the time goes to consultant study while the remaining 1/3 is the actual, physical construction of a bridge. The first two phases involve a lot of permits and studies and will take up to 6 years while the construction itself is only estimated to be two years.
The job of building this bridge seems to have already been awarded, and a firm in southern California called "Quincy Engineering" was contracted to build the bridge.
At this point I figured that was about all I would find out. But then an interesting journey happened.
I learned that Quincy Enginnering was bought out by a company called Consor in year 2021. Consor is a massive group that has purchased quite a few engineering companies, and judging by their website they seem to care more about diversity and modern buzzwords than a group that builds massive public works projects.
Consor is a very young company--Its not even ten years old--and the trail of ownership doesn't stop there. The business apparrently was thrown together by Keyston Capital, an investment group of four partners who are located in different parts of the world. The biggest of the bunch is A-I-A engineers who are located in India. Another Group is located in Dubai, while yet another is in the USA but got recently bought out by a diffent usa company and the parent website is lacking on details.
I know this is a lot, but isn't it weird that we have a handful of local people that have been waiting patiently for a bridge to be built near their home, and the grant money is in the hands of a faraway firm with owners that are even further off, far beyond the Continental 50.
I'm not criticizing the decision to choose that particular engineering company, because I certainly don't know the full story, but maybe when Humboldt County staff decides who gets awarded to build our bridges and other public works projects. Maybe do a simply google review and make sure that the money is in good hands and that the projects will get done on time when they are supposed to, not just rotting on the vine in Phase One stage. That grant money is to make our counties vital infrastructure better, not to line the pockets of paper pushing consultants.
SOURCES (and more interesting leads)
MCcann Bridge Replacement Project: https://www.mccannbridge.com/
AIA Engineers (Based in India)
Last year a rogue employee shared some of the companies secrets with a rival firm and was arrested
AIA's Stock is the highest it has ever been on the financial market.
Infrastructure Engineers (USA)
This year this company was purchased by Bowman
Bowman's stock is almost the highest it has ever been on the financial market, however expectations are that the company is overvalued and does not have good long term strength.
Bowman has purchased several other engineer outfits this year in addition to the abovementioned
Target Engineering Group (Dubai)
Late last year Target was purchased by ALEC, which is based in Dubai
Johnson-Adams & Associates (unknown)
Purchased and apparently shelved by Consor. They no longer have a working website...