Stephen Davison Bechtel Sr., an engineering and construction giant whose accomplishments included Hoover Dam and an entire city in Saudi Arabia, has died after a brief illness. He was 88.

Bechtel, longtime head of the company in San Francisco that bears his family's name, died Tuesday at Merritt Peralta Medical Center. At his family's request, the nature of his illness was not disclosed.Under Bechtel's guidance, the company built Hoover Dam, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system and the Saudi Arabian city of Jubail. The company also built thousands of miles of pipelines and helped pioneer the field of nuclear power.

A doodle on the back of an envelope was often all the information Bechtel needed to envision a huge project. The 718-mile Canadian Trans Mountain Pipeline started that way over lunch in 1949.