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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

10 things you should know about Kiewit

by a guest contributor

10 things you should know about Kiewit

In July of 2013, a consortium of companies led by Kiewit submitted an unsolicitedbid to build out the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway.[1] ADOT didnt accept the proposal as it was, but recently released a public request for competing bids. Kiewit, having a head start on other firms, is still presumably the frontrunner. While readers of this blog understand how the freeway would be destructive to communities and ecosystems no matter who builds it, there are reasons to be especially concerned about Kiewit. The company thrives on environmentally damaging construction and resource extraction industries, and has quite an eye-opening record on other matters.

Here are 10 things to know about Kiewit

1. It’s a construction behemoth

Kiewit is one of the largest construction services firms in the world, responsible for building highways, offshore oil platforms and other structures. Its annual revenue is just short of $12 billion dollars, which is roughly equivalent to the GDP of Namibia. [2]

2. Its helping to build Keystone XL

The company provided excavation work and other services related to the construction of TransCanada crude oil pump stations. [3]

3. It’s involved in Alberta Oil Sands extraction

Kiewit built a treatment facility at Imperial Oils Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta, an operation producing 110,000 barrels of oil per day. The company is currently working on an expansion phase of the project. [4]

4. It owns and operates multiple coal mines

Among its many mining-related activities, Kiewit owns two coal mining operations in Wyoming. [5] The company also operates the particularly nasty San Miguel strip mine in South Texas. One blogger describes the operations at San Miguel:  Even though San Miguel is the smallest power plant in Texas, its one of the dirtiest.  It burns a particularly polluting form of coal called lignite.[6]

5. It built part of the border fence

In 2009, Kiewit was a general contractor for the 38 miles of border fence extending east from downtown El Paso. [7]

6. It built another part of the border fence in Arizona, which was then disrupted by mother nature

Kiewits Western operations helped build a 5.2 mile section of border fence near Organ Pipe National Monument.  During a large storm, the fence became a de facto dam. The Arizona Daily Star reported that the 15-foot-high wire mesh fence halted the natural flow of floodwater during a July 12 storm…” [8]

7. People have died on its projects

Despite the Kiewit websites assertion that nobody gets hurt,people have been hurt on Kiewit projects. On October 11, 2012, a worker was crushed by a large steel beam on a Kiewit Infrastructure West Project in California. [9]

8. It had to pay damages for gender discrimination

Lisa Davis, a box grader operator sued Kiewit Pacific Co. According to a summary of the case, A jury found Kiewit liable for gender discrimination, hostile work environment harassment, retaliation, and failure to prevent harassment, gender discrimination, or retaliation, awarding her $270,000.[10] Numerous other workers have filed complaints against the company for racial discrimination. [11]

9. A quality Inspector called one of its projects “A disaster waiting to happen”

In late 2012, an onsite quality inspector at the 520 bridge project in Washington called Kiewit’s work on the pontoon portion of the bridge the “worst” he’d been on. He also claimed that he was laid off because he wouldn’t sign off on Kiewit’s inferior work. News reports stated that the inspector’s claims were substantiated by an internal audit. [12]

10. Kiewit wins unsolicited bids

This isnt the first time Kiewit has submitted an unsolicitedbid for a transportation project. In 2012, Kiewit submitted an unsolicitedbid to build out Denvers RTD I-225 rail project, and eventually won the contract. [13]

In other words, Kiewit appears to be the perfect contractor to build an environmentally and socially destructive project.


[9] OSHA case no. 314863846; According to the OSHA file, The cause of the accident was due to failure in ensuring that exposed employees were not working in the zone of danger adjacent to the trailer containing steel the I-beams.OSHA records state that Kiewit was forced to pay a fine of $36,000.