Video: Congress Planning Another Short-term Highway Fund Patch

With expiration deadline looming, it looks like Congress is readying to pass another highway fund patch, but the duration of the patch is still in question; plus more construction industry news on the May 14, 2015, edition of Construction News Tracker

Just days to the highway fund deadline...

A wobbly construction economic outlook...

Cat advances standards on D2 series...

And the world's largest tilt-up building underway...

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

Map 21, the last extension of the government's highway funding bill, expires at the end of this month. The House only have five days remaining of its legislative calendar for May; however, the Senate has more and may well decide the outcome.

A plethora of ideas from construction industry entities has been offered to bridge the annual gap in paying for infrastructure and roads, yet only one option appears to be palatable to Congress — pass another extension, it's duration in question: two months, four months or six months.

Video: Special Report on Highway Funding Crisis in Arkansas

It would be the 33rd in a long line of temporary pay for extensions. will keep you updated.

An economic slowdown has economists concerned. That's the latest from CMD, formerly known as Reed Construction Data.

Economists at a recent forum, the construction industry's best, AGC's Ken Simonson, AIA's Kermit Baker and Alex Carrick of CMD have pegged their latest 2015 outlook as spotty and uneven. It all boils down to congressional failure to fund key economic projects and the continuing loss of qualified workers in the field. Despite a jump in total nonresidential construction of 7.1 percent least year, the economists warn that new growth may be behind us for 2015.

Industry Economists Indicate Bright Spots in 2015 Construction Forecast 

Caterpillar's D2 Series skid steer, multi-terrain and compact track loaders are being beefed up with new standard options. Now coming standard on all six D2 Series models is Cat advances in visibility, control and operator comfort, performance, and machine security - which includes the Heads Up Advanced Display feature. The D Series non-XHP models are also being supplied with increased operating capacity and, of course, EPA Tier 4 Final emissions.

For contractors, the beefed up theft deterrent system is a true bonus.

Four million square feet. That's the size of the world's largest tilt-up concrete building now under construction near Houston, Texas. Daikon Industries is building on a 497-acre site and will include 1.8 million square feet in food distribution, 1.7 million square feet of manufacturing space, and other needs for the refrigeration products company — with all functions housed in the same structure.

The Tilt-up Concrete Association confirms that at 4.13 million square feet it is the world's largest to date.

Slow down is the message the Pennsylvania DOT is sending motorists who approach a major construction zone at the Fort Pitt Tunnel in Pittsburgh. In an effort to enforce worker safety, the agency is constructing two sets of rumble strips to the approach lanes nightly. Tunnel travel lanes are restricted to one lane and 40 miles per hour so workers on the $14 million job to remove the ceiling and make extensive improvements need the ultimate protection. PennDOT will install and remove the rumble strips daily — just so everyone gets the safety message.

Construction technology developed in Europe 20 years ago is now being implemented in the U.S. Cross laminated timber (CLT) is utilized in a new Candlewood Suites Hotel under construction at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. 

Using CLT, the typical floor panel is 8 feet by 50 feet, is 7 inches thick and weighs in at 8,000 pounds. When the hotel is completed it will contain 1,557 panels in a four-story structure, all sustainable and renewable.

Summing up, failure is the worst thing in the world, but the very worst is not to try.

This is Construction News Tracker looking over the industry that makes the world a better place. Brought to you by Caterpillar and produced by We're on social media sites: Twitter using #constructionnews and Facebook as the streaming Web never ends.