Construction News Tracker Video: $163 Billion Needed By 2021 To Improve Deteriorating U.S. Roads

$163 billion needed by 2021 to improve deteriorating infrastructure including 64,000 structurally deficient bridges and $87 billion for needed highway repairs; plus more industry news on the December 22, 2014 edition of Construction News Tracker

Major contractor wins VA fight...

Aging surface transportation fix to cost billions...

And there could be a drone in your future...

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

A failure of good faith and fair dealing is what split the Veterans Administration and Kiewit-Turner Construction over a massive project to build a new VA hospital near Denver. The construction partnership took its case before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals in Washington and outlined years of failed negotiations, inadequate planning and budgeting by the VA. The Appeals Board agreed and permitted Keiwit-Turner and its subs to abandon the hospital site, which is 62 percent complete. The Appeals Board in it's ruling said the VA has insufficient funds to pay for the entire project at $1 billion as currently designed and no plan to ask Congress for more money. The $600 million site was contracted in 2010, and Kiewit-Turner said it has put $100 million of its own money into the project to date. Denver is not the only VA hospital project in jeopardy. Similar situations exist in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando, although work continues.

It's just money; that's what the 2015 Bottom Line report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation and the American Public Transportation Association say is needed to fund our aging surface transportation network. In fact, $163 billion is the estimate required between now and 2021 to improve a deteriorating road system in the U.S. The economics analysis includes 64,000 structurally deficient bridges and a backlog of $87 billion in needed highway repairs. Both AASHTO and APTA claim that travel growth is continuing to increase, and with that comes the need to keep our roads in top condition.

The fight over drone use by commercial interests has gained some relief. Trimble Navigation along with design and engineering firm Clayco, design and development company Wolpert and commercial drone operator VDOS Global have been given federal aviation authority approval to use the controversial flying machines.

From Atlanta we present a time lapse video posted by Brasfield and Gorrie. The 23-story, 507,000-square-foot Cyan on Peachtree tower in Buckhead is the focus from start to top out. The partnership with developer Atlantic Realty built the tower for Monogram Residential Trust. It was begun last spring, topped out just a couple of weeks ago and should be ready for occupancy next spring.

To keep Las Vegas supplied with plenty of water in the future it has taken seven years in a massive $817 million tunnel beneath Lake Mead. Vegas Tunnel Constructors has employed a 1,500-ton machine along a sweeping three-mile arc to connect a 100-foot-long drainage pipe with the intake structure already constructed beneath the largest man-made lake in the U.S.

Finally, a Christmas gift for all of us - falling fuel prices. The expansion of domestic fracking has the world in turmoil as the U.S. slowly bolsters its gas and oil production. The U.S. Energy Information Administration calculates it will last. The latest numbers project diesel fuel prices falling another 23 percent in 2015 to an average $3.07 per gallon and gasoline dropping another 35 cents per gallon next year to an average of $2.60 per gallon.

In closing, life is more like Christmas. You are more likely to get what you expect than what you want.