Construction Week news updates from ENR:


Newspaper Claims Caltrans Ignored Bridge Safety Issues

The California Dept. of Transportation has ignored several deficiency assessments made by an independent engineering review panel regarding Bay Bridge construction, according to a recent published report. The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported that the panel, which CalTrans appointed, found some "intentional modifications" of data that caused "consequential" impact and involved not only the concrete foundation piles of the new self-anchored suspension tower on the bridge but also foundation safety testing on several other Bay Area bridges. Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in a statement, "The 'results' cited by the Sacramento Bee are taken from a preliminary, draft work product. It is irresponsible and premature to draw any conclusions from the data at this time."


CB&I Could Boost U.S. Reach In Planned $3B Deal for Shaw

Projecting to add to its global energy-market capacity, particularly in the U.S., engineer-contractor CB&I announced on July 30 its intent to acquire The Shaw Group Inc. in a $3-billion cash-and-stock deal. The firms say it will create one of the world's largest energy-sector competitors. Analysts say Texas-based CB&I would also gain a strong presence in the U.S. power and industrial-fabrication markets. Baton Rouge, La.-based Shaw is set to become a unit called CB&I Shaw, without founder J.M. Bernhard at the helm. It also announced on Aug. 6 that its previously announced sale of its energy-and-chemicals unit to Paris-based Technip had cleared antitrust review. Shaw says that deal, set to close at month's end, will net it $300 million. CB&I says it will use cash on both firms' balance sheets to finance the Shaw purchase, set to close in early 2013. Analysts and investors were intrigued but skeptical. CB&I shares were off 11.7% in trading ending on Aug. 4. "I think the biggest risk to CB&I is the end-market expansion into the power sector," independent E&C sector analyst Avi Fisher tells ENR. "Any time you have end-market expansion combined with fixed-price contracts, you have risk."