Construction News Tracker Video: Transportation Funding Discussions

Transportation funding needs stressed on Capitol Hill...

The costs of 2012 disasters second highest ever...

Volvo to offer DME fuel power on heavy-duty trucks...

That and more on Construction News Tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com

The Transportation Construction Coalition annual D.C. Flyin recently heard from key players on Capitol Hill regarding the need for dedicated funding.

Making up for the shortfalls in Highway Trust Fund dollars appears to be a topic of discussion in the days ahead. Our thanks to AASHTO TV for making this content available.

Discussions are certain to ramp up later this year and next when federal budgeting gains more attention - stay tuned.

Our economic recovery has the nation's homebuilders smiling. The Wells Fargo/National Association of Homebuilders Market Index increase from 44 to 52 points shows the biggest gain this month since 2002. Ratings above 50 mean builders have more confidence in the future and is one of the strongest signs yet the housing market is regainning strength.

It was on May 23rd when an oversize load wiped out part of the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Skagist River in Washington state. In less than a month DOT has constructed a temporary span, and the route has been reopened to traffic - except for oversize loads. WSDOT awarded a $6.8 million contract to M.G. Kunney Construction of Spokane to build a permanent fix for the bridge.

WSDOT Plans to Have Permanent I-5 Bridge Replacement Complete By Fall

That is anticipated to be ready by October 1st. By the way, Transportation for America in a report compiled from Federal Highway Administration statistics claims that 66,000 U.S. bridges - one in nine - are structurally deficient.

Bridge Structural Deficiency is a Growing Concern

Floods, drought, you name it, all made 2012 the second costliest year ever in the U.S. for natural disasters at $110 billion. Eleven events alone accounted for $1 billion each in damages; however, Hurricane Sandy eclipsed those with $65 billion in damage. Drought in the West and Midwest cost U.S. $30 billion in harvest failure, as it covered the largest area of landmass in history.

It will be eight years in August when Hurricane Katrina devasted the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. The last major project of that city's levee system re-build is just beginning. The Army Corps of Engineers just broke ground on the 17th Street Canal Station. A $614 million joint venture that includes Kiewit Louisiana, Traylor Brothers and the M.R. Pittman Group. The new pump stations will block storm surges and pump water at rates strong enough to keep from breeching floodwalls.

Volvo Trucks sasys it will be the first manufacturer to offer Dimethyl Ether powered DME heavy-duty trucks by 2015. The techonology basically converts natural gas to DME, carries with it diesel powered efficiency but burns clean without soot. It is a joint venture with the state of California and Oberon Fuels in the Volvo 13 engine line up.

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