Construction job numbers improve...
Highway bill deadline looms...
Top 10 states with deficient bridges...
And a look at a brick laying robot...
That and more on Construction News Tracker brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.
Here's the latest tally dealing with the May 31st deadline for an extension of the highway funding bill. Four states have either delayed or cancelled highway spending for 2015 by halting their bid process for the next critical months: Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Wyoming. The combined dollar amount is $1.3 billion. Nine additional states are considering similar action, which would increase the amount in limbo.
It is all due to the uncertainty of congressional action to fund the nation's infrastructure and highways.
Nearly every construction industry group has called for congressional action and have developed their own outreach campaigns to encourage members to lobby congressional representatives to support them. Among them is AASHTO, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. Executive Director Bud Wright spoke to a Washington gathering about their bottom line report.
Aside from a gas tax increase, other ideas have popped up; among them, taxing overseas corporate profits, imposing a barrel tax on oil, adding interstate toll lanes or a money transfer from the government's general fund.
It's time for everyone associated with construction to reach out to their representatives and impress on them the critical need to reach a funding increase.
Sixty-one thousand sixty-four bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient. The U.S. DOT says these structures are in critical need of repair or replacement. The states with the most affected bridges are:
- North Carolina
Two-hundred fifty of the bridges on the list are on interstate highways, and the majority are at least 50 years old.
Contractors continue to increase their employment base, according to new data from AGC. The general contractors' group claims new jobs were added in the past year in 278 metro areas as the demand for private sector housing heats up, but were also stagnant in 44 metros and dropped in 36.
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, appears to be the most robust job sector followed by Denver and Seattle. Unfortunately, New Orleans, Biloxi and Cleveland are registering the biggest construction job losses to date. It all boils down to project underway. Consider Louisville where 4,400 jobs have been added by contractors in the last year - most attributed to the major I-65 rebuild, new bridges over the Ohio River and a new hotel resort complex underway.
Technological improvements in equipment are certain to hamper future construction job growth - consider the new SAM 100.
The brick laying robot needs only a crew of three to operate. Built by a New York robotic firm, SAM stands for semi-automated mason and is capable of applying mortar to brick, set the brick ad move along a face wall predetermined by a laser. And it's self contained. Bottom line, SAM can lay a brick every 20 to 25 seconds.
Some interesting video from Michigan State University. Crews are building a new facility for rare isotope beams. Three-hundred-fifty truckloads of concrete were assembled for the 24-hour continuous pour to create the base floor of the structure - enough concrete to fill an olympic sized swimming pool. And it all went on during a snow and rain mixed weather scenario on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing.
In closing, of course life is bizarre. The more bizarre it gets the more interesting it is. The only way to approach it is to make yourself some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.
This is Construction News Tracker watching over the industry that makes the world a better place. Brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com. We're on social media: Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ForConstructionPros and Twitter at https://twitter.com/4constructnpros using #constructionnews.