After pollution rules revised, two asphalt makers in lead for city work

MAT Asphalt, the target of community complaints, was the low bidder on two of five city contracts.

SHARE After pollution rules revised, two asphalt makers in lead for city work
A truck leaves MAT Asphalt at 2055 W. Pershing Rd. across from McKinley Park.

A truck leaves MAT Asphalt at 2055 W. Pershing Rd. across from McKinley Park.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times file photo

Two Southwest Side asphalt makers submitted low bids for city work after Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration revised rules, aiming to cut pollution from the businesses across the communities where they operate.

MAT Asphalt submitted two low bids and Reliable Asphalt offered three for contracts to provide city crews with materials to fill potholes and for other street repairs across five sections of Chicago.

Under revised rules, no single bidder can win contracts for more than two areas of the city so that asphalt production isn’t overwhelmingly affecting one neighborhood.

That means another bidder, including Ogden Avenue Materials or a joint venture between Reliable and Ogden, may win the final piece of work.

The city will also factor in other considerations, including whether the operations have a diverse and local employee base.

Last year, it appeared that MAT was potentially on the verge of winning most of the $500 million in city contracts, which enraged a community group that said it would mean ramped up production at the McKinley Park plant.

In June, the city rejected all bids for asphalt contracts.

MAT, which opened across from McKinley Park in 2018, has been the source of hundreds of complaints from residents related to air quality and odor. The operation’s owner has said the plant is cleaner than others in the area.

All asphalt plants seeking city contracts will be required to build additional pollution controls by 2025, according to the new city rules.

In Chicago, the plants are within a relatively short distance of each other on the Southwest Side.

MAT is at 2055 W. Pershing Rd., Reliable is at 3741 S. Pulaski Rd., Ogden is at 931 N. Ogden Ave. and the Reliable Ogden asphalt plant is at 2424 S. Laflin St.

“Splitting up the bids is a step in the right direction, but all of these facilities are on the Southwest Side,” said Alfredo Romo, executive director of Neighbors for Environmental Justice in McKinley Park.

MAT co-owner Michael Tadin Jr. said the city pollution requirements will significantly reduce emissions.

“We applaud the city for adding all these environmental controls,” he said.

A Reliable official declined to comment and Ogden representatives could not be reached.

The city is expected to announce the contracts in the coming months. Reliable Ogden has been the sole city contractor.

Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

The Latest
Arike Ogunbowale was named All-Star MVP for her historic performance.
Tamia Washington, 18, is charged with robbery. She joins four adolescents — ages 11, 14, 15 and 16 — who are charged with aggravated battery and robbery stemming from the July 8 attack on a man in the Loop.
De La Soul brought their signature energy, Chicago’s Kara Jackson brought the prose and more reviews from Union Park.
The Cubs sit at 47-53 with a negative run differential as their playoff chances continue to dwindle.
The White Sox (27-73) became the 14th team with 73 or more losses in its first 100 games.