Written By: Ishton W. Morton – February 9th, 2017
Once again another year has evaporated and I’ve traveled from Cincinnati, Ohio to Toledo, Ohio. I have every intention to observed construction companies working alone the I-75 Interstate corridor to obtain a workable understanding of the different ethnic groups that are working. In an amazing spiral approximately 97% of the work seems to done by two or three construction companies.
Predicated on conversations with Dan Mendel a Construction Administrator in District 8 for ODOT the work that is been done in Cincinnati on Interstate I-75 corridor is been done by two construction, John Jurgenson Construction and Kokosing Construction Company.
Between these two (2) companies they are in control of all the expressway construction in and around Cincinnati, Ohio at an estimated cost of well over 1.1 billion dollars I-75 Mill Creek Expressway www.i75millcreekexpressway.com
Subsequently, the merits of my contentions have continued to be three folds. (1) There were no participation of African American construction companies, (2) African American within the construction arena were not given the rightful information to correctly complete and submit bids, and (3) Thusly, African American are not being employed. These have continued to be my contentions for the pass two years.
The American weekly magazine Engineering News Record owned by BNP Media provides news, analysis, data and opinion for the construction industry worldwide. It has ranked Kokosing the 65th largest contractor in the 2012 Top 400 U.S. contractor, as well as the 27th largest contractor in the 2012 as the Top 50 Domestic Heavy Contractors listing. However, they have stopped short evaluating aspects of their practices that are lesser obvious to the consumption of the public in general.
The John R. Jurgensen Company, incorporated in 1955, is a third generation private family owned corporation specializing in heavy highway construction. With over 500 employees, the John R. Jurgensen Company primarily works in Southern Ohio, Southern Indiana, and Northern Kentucky serving the public sector DOTs, municipalities, as well as private owner needs. With projects ranging in size from large Design Build interstate reconstruction jobs to small private parking lots. They specialized in asphalt paving, milling, bridge structures, and grade/drain work.
The John R. Jurgensen Company claims its core values are built on honesty, integrity, and quality work which have led to a long standing relationship with its customers.
Evidently, neither of these companies seems to have good track records of employment within the African-American Community. The word on the street and around the construction arena these companies have done and are everything the can to disrupt the well-being, success and stability of real minority owned companies in the construction industry.
Meanwhile, Kokosing is heightening it is family owned and is operating with well over 60 years of experience in industrial facility construction, water and wastewater treatment plants, underground utility systems, manufacturing and process plants, parking garages, roads, bridges and marine work, and this may very well be a correct statement. However the consequences are extremely obvious. There is an ongoing denial equal participation on these jobs .
However, many in the construction arena are saying along with that 60 years of experience in industrial facility construction come with the reputation of actively unfair practices that are directed against minority owned construction companies.
This corridor is designed to reduce traffic and travel time mostly for those working in the vicinity of the University of Cincinnati, hospitals and the zoo. Quite simply this is nothing more than a way-finding to promote economic vitality for CDC.
Evidently, Dynotec was selected as part of the Kokosing/HDR Design-Build Team to provide structural design services for the $81 million Martin Luther King Interchange reconstruction located in the Uptown area of Cincinnati.
Subsequently, the Westerville-Ohio-based construction company won the contract to build the Interstate 71/Martin Luther King Jr. Drive has completely blocked all African-American Construction and real Minority Companies from participating in the bidding process. They used a process that was referenced as Designed & Build. Minority construction companies have contended that during the bidding process Kokosing deliberately with vital information from minority construction companies. Accordingly, African-American Construction and real Minority Companies from participating in the bidding process bidding information and figures were extremely wrong.
Manifested in this project ODOT attempted to propose a Two-Step Low-Bid Design Build projects. The first step of the process was a qualification based submittal where three (3) firms were selected. In the second step, these three (3) firms were asked to submit their bids.
Predicated on collaboration’s data between Kokosing Construction and Dynotec it was deemed extremely difficult if not impractical for African American construction companies to effectively compete in the process. From the very inception, the Low-Bid Design Build Projects process has completely place the project out of reach for participating African-American Construction and real minority Companies.
To date, since this project is design to promote economic vitality in the Uptown area of the city of Cincinnati, please understand African Americans are still completely excluded. Thusly, I’ve continued to be extremely disappointed with the process under which this project was awarded.
Additionally, in conversations with Dan Mendel a construction administrator in District 8 for ODOT work been done in Cincinnati on Interstate I-75 corridor is been done by two construction, John Jurgenson Construction and Kokosing Company are being paid for by petrol taxes. Since we are all paying the taxes for these improvements on our highways and bridges the qualified should be given equal opportunities at making these improvements and not just a selected few.
Moreover information received strongly suggested that these companies are engaged in a process that can be construed as double-dipping. Participants in the construction arena are lamenting that construction companies getting the jobs to make improvements on our highways and bridges have created their own division of minority contractors who bided along side with them. in return the so-called minority contractors upon securing bids deliberate return all the awarded bids to their so-called parent company.
Thusly, the same one or two maintain control of all improvements on our highways and bridges. Seemingly, these are conflict of interest. In most cases, these so-called minority contractors are ill-equipped and without equipment to fulfill contractual agreements.
Furthermore, as a result of conversations with Dan Mendel a construction administrator in District 8 for ODOT data obtained suggested there are studies that contains portion of I-74 from the I-75 interchange to the Colerain interchange and the Norwood Lateral (SR 562) from the I-75 interchange to the Paddock Road interchange, portions of the City of Cincinnati, City of St. Bernard, the Village of Elmwood Place, including Martin Luther King Interchange reconstruction in the Uptown area of Cincinnati is estimated a approximately 1.1 billion dollars.
Similarly, the Corridor Project Phasing and Schedule Due to cost, constructability, and time constraints, the Mill Creek Expressway project have been split into eight phases of construction.
The following table provides a brief description of each phase, major milestone dates, and current status. I-75 Mill Creek Expressway www.i75millcreekexpressway.com
For example, the Replacement of RR Overpass South of Norwood Lateral, alone which started on September 2016 cost an estimated $18.1. This signals a colossal dearth of African-Americans Construction and real Minority companies performing in the construction arena.
Thusly, macroeconomic initiatives—such as infrastructure investments, aid to states, and a stronger safety net—are needed to restore the national economy, reduce the national unemployment rate, and create the conditions for strong job growth in the future. This is a clear process of taxization without representation.
Jobs are essential to improving African American communities. Increased employment will help people in these communities lift themselves out of poverty and may even reduce violent crimes.
In conclusion, members of the African-American Communities need to rise-up and demand to be at the table. This thing of believing that someone will be coming into our neighborhoods dancing, shouting carrying a banner with a strange device saying economic inclusion for the African-American Communities, economic inclusion for the African-American Communities is not going to happen. Wake-up and smell the manure that is being fed to you!
Before I finish, because of extremely poor economic conditions, poor educational outcomes and high crime rates can be correlated with high unemployment rates, creating job opportunities will help improve educational outcomes and reduce crime.