Down to the wire again on highway funding...
Jobs report shows stagnation...
And Indiana probes a highway asphalt mess...
That and more on Construction News Tracker presented by Caterpillar.
Just two weeks remain before the Highway Trust Fund authority runs out. Conflicting positions from Capitol Hill highlight the latest dilemma as a last minute effort to secure a long-term, at least six year, funding mechanism is worked out. With both houses of Congress in turmoil over other significant issues, it appears that yet another short-term authorization could be the outcome.
The government's jobs report for September indicates a stagnant effort to find new openings. Statistics show a meager 142,000 new jobs created while the construction sector managed to secure only 2,000 more positions. Despite the unemployment rate holding at 5.1%, the number of unemployed people continues to grow.
It appears as though flaws in asphalt mix is the cause of nearly $71 million in poor highway resurfacing in Indiana. The state DOT lab is pouring over samples extracted from 200 highway projects to find the answer. Contractors and Indiana officials may be squaring off over the outcome as a determination over the state's rules on additional recycled asphalt or insufficient use of petroleum binder is found as the answer.
Net result is that life span of the affected roads is 30% shorter than expected and will crack and crumble years ahead of schedule, costing even more money down the road.
A $2 billion fertilizer plant at Port Neal, Iowa, near Sioux City is a hive of activity. Ground was broken in 2013 for the massive facility, the single largest capitol project in state history. CF Industries will triple its capacity; and as Plant Manager Nick De Roos explains, it's well underway.
That's an understatement because there are now 4,000 construction workers on site, many working 65-hour weeks as the 24/7 fertilizer plant project nears completion.
Beneath the streets of Lorain, Ohio, a sewer conveyance tunnel of major proportion is taking shape. Walsh Construction is contractor on the 5,600-foot-long tunnel being carved out 114 feet below ground. A 19-foot-diameter tube will be formed and built of concrete to hold back stormwater beneath the city.
Shafts to connect the project are nearly completed, and the actual concrete pour — the first of many — can last up to nine hours long and use over 50 cement trucks.
The Black River project should be finished a year from now.
Implosion fans should note a big boom set for next month. CALTRANS is spending $160 million to implode the largest concrete pier of the old Bay Bridge near San Francisco. Six hundred microcharges will be placed — much of them underwater.
CALTRANS reports it will also place a large construction mat over the top of the pier, as promised to environmentalists, to minimize the debris into San Francisco Bay.
It's all set for November 7, and there will be a video feed for those who can't attend the boom.
Finally, the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
This is Construction News Tracker watching over the industry that makes the world a better place, presented by Caterpillar and produced by ForConstructionPros.com.