Construction News Tracker Video: Cat Wheel Tractor Scraper Production Hits Milestone

Caterpillar has produced its 75,000 wheel tractor scraper with the market for the 627K continuing to grow worldwide; plus more construction industry news in the September 4, 2014 edition of Construction News Tracker

A highway rebuild in record time...

Contractors hunt for lost work force...

And the focus remains on a new highway bill...

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

I-495, which carries massive amounts of traffic around Wilmington, Del., suffered a blow in early June when it was discovered that 37 piers holding a bridge over the Christina River had been damaged by a 50,000-ton dirt pile that had been dumped along its base. Officials immediately shut down the leaning bridge of Delaware. Now less than three months later piers have been reset and stabilized, and its open to traffic.

However, the legal battle between the entitites that deposited the dirt and an assortment of government agencies has yet to begin.

Construction jobs are coming back. The doors are open, but contractors don't see many takers. An AGC analysis of U.S. Labor Department stats shows only 43 states were able to add construction jobs since 2013. Florida led the way with the biggest job gains followed by Texas and California. There was a time when no one was hiring after the recession. But AGC cautions that with the recovery underway contractors are hiring, but the qualified work force appears to have disappeared. In fact, 25 percent of contractors claim they've turned away projects due to the worker shortfall.

Construction Employment Remains Below Peak Levels in Every Location Except North Dakota

The industry is working to refortify its battle llines going forward.

After Congress passed a short-term $11 billion Highway Trust Fund extension the last day of July it's good for only 10 months time. Because it relies so heavily upon long-term infrastructure planning the fits and starts delivered by Capitol Hill are destructive in their lack of foresight. News Tracker is reaching out to industry executives for their positions on the need for long-term funding.

Now the hard facts:

  • This highway fund extenstion is the 10th for surface transportation
  • There have been 18 short-term budget bills over the past six years
  • The extension expires May 31, 2015, just in time for the next construction cycle

Navistar will offer its popular Allison fuel efficiency transmission packages on all medium-duty and vocational trucks. The recent announcement covers the International truck line to include Allison 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 transmission series. The tech savvy system automatically adjusts shift schedules and torque to maximize efficiency based on the truck's load, grade and duty cycle while retruning a 20 percent improvement in fuel consumption.

Employees of Cat's Decatur, Ill., production plant are celebrating a milestone. Seventy-five thousand is the magic number of wheel tractor scrapers produced at the plant. Used to haul high volumes of materials, the open bowl, twin engine 627K operates with optimum fuel efficiency. And the marketplace for the 627K machine is expanding worldwide.

In closing, every time history repeats itself the price goes up.


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