In today’s news, we look into the partial collapse at the Tomochichi federal courthouse in Savannah, and three construction workers were injured. Meanwhile, the transmission line will span 700 miles across the western United States, and the Biden administration has given its approval for its construction. In addition, as of March 2023, the typical contractor in the United States has a backlog of 8.7 months’ worth of work in the building industry. On the other hand, the construction of a bridge on US 31 in Marshall County is scheduled to begin soon. Furthermore, the United States Route 2 Culbertson Projects Are About to Begin Building. Over and above that, spending on construction for manufacturing in the United States continues to set new records. 

Three construction workers are injured when Savannah’s Tomochichi federal courthouse partially collapses.

Original Source: Savannah’s Tomochichi federal courthouse partially collapses, 3 construction workers hurt

The Savannah federal courthouse’s 124-year-old upper floor fell Tuesday, injuring three construction workers.

Savannah Fire Battalion Chief Wayne Ifill said all three workers were brought to a hospital, none with life-threatening injuries, after part of the courthouse’s third floor collapsed and they fell to the floor below. He stated everyone in the building was safe.

“We double-checked,” Ifill replied. It’s empty currently. They can’t go back in until a structural engineer does a thorough building examination.

Wright Square’s Tomochichi Federal Building and U.S. Courts opened in 1899. More than a century later, it was named for the Yamacraw chief, a small tribe of Native Americans who befriended the colonial English settlers that created Georgia in 1773.

Ifill said the $75 million renovation will finish next year and has gutted the facility. Why 30 square feet (2.8 square meters) of the floor crumbled is unknown. Courthouse staff were absent.

Ifill thought it could have been worse.

Hard Hatted workers crowded on street corners Tuesday afternoon outside the courthouse, which had scaffolding.

Ifill believed the external walls were safe. The street on the south side of the courthouse, nearest where the floor collapsed in, was closed until structural specialists confirmed the building was safe. That inspection’s speed was unknown.

Biden administration approves 700-mile US West transmission line

Original Source: Biden administration approves construction of 700-mile transmission line across US West

On Tuesday, the BLM approved a 732-mile Western U.S. high-voltage transmission line to transmit renewable energy.

The BLM says the TransWest Express Project will travel from south-central Wyoming through northwestern Colorado and central Utah to southern Nevada.

The agency added that the project is part of the Biden administration’s aim to update power infrastructure in the West and create a carbon-free electrical grid by 2035.

“This large-scale transmission line will put people to work throughout our public lands and help supply clean, renewable energy,” BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning said.

“Our careful use of public lands today can help assure a clean energy future for us all,” Stone-Manning said.

The Wyoming-based 3-gigawatt Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project will supply electricity to TransWest Express, which will create 1,000 jobs.

The BLM says this 600-turbine project’s transmission lines will provide clean, reliable electricity to the region.

After Energy Gateway South was approved in May 2022, the BLM Wyoming State Office will approve TransWest Express, the agency said.

The BLM said the 416-mile transmission line will travel from a substation in southwestern Wyoming across Colorado to one in central Utah.

As of March 2023, the average U.S. contractor had 8.7 months of construction work lined up

Original Source: The average U.S. contractor has 8.7 months worth of construction work in the pipeline, as of March 2023

Backlog dropped in March and is now at its lowest level since August 2022, according to Associated Builders and Contractors.

According to an ABC member survey conducted March 20–April 3, the Construction Backlog Index dropped to 8.7 months in March. 0.4 months higher than March 2022.

See ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index tables for March. Historical Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index data.

March backlog dropped to its lowest level since August 2022. Every region except the South, which has high current and prospective construction activity, has monthly backlog reductions.

Sales rose in March on ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, but profit margins and staffing decreased. All three scores are above 50, suggesting a six-month increase.

ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said nonresidential development activity may have slowed. “With broad recession fears, financing conditions tightening, and more decision-makers focusing on cost containment, new construction business may be harder for contractors to line up.

Basu stated the March confidence and backlog statistics showed a slowdown rather than a reversal. “There is a widely held notion that financial conditions are tightening in the aftermath of the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. If accurate, one could expect greater deceleration and less industrial confidence in the months ahead.”

Marshall Co. US 31 bridge construction begins

Original Source: Bridge Construction set to begin on US 31 in Marshall Co.

U.S. 31 bridge construction in Marshall County will take time.

Authorities tell 16 News Now that this two-year endeavor prioritizes safety.

As WNDU reported at the end of March, INDOT has limited traffic on U.S. 31 to one lane in each way between 13th Road and 14th Road in anticipation of road repair.

This $28.7 million project will safely reroute traffic over these train tracks, minimizing car accidents, especially in halted traffic before the railroad crossing.

INDOT reports seven crashes in five years from this site.

All seven involved vehicles obliged to stop at railroad crossings, causing 38 injuries and one death.

In 2018, 13-year-old Owen Abbott died when a straight truck slammed the back of his school bus at the train crossing, where it was mandated to halt.

“There was a terrible passing at that point, and so, a lot of that has generated some further interest in trying to find separation and modifying rules to look at how we can prevent future situations like this,” says Marshall County Planning Department Plan Director Ty Adley. “This is one of those upgrades in terms of traffic separation, so you have less places in time to conflict between two types of traffic.”

INDOT reminds motorists that intermittent work will be needed while the ground settles to make the bridge safe.

To widen the route and ensure bridge integrity, crews have cut trees from both sides.

Adley thinks this will improve traffic flow and motorist safety.

“The primary benefit to it is from a safety aspect because looking at it, you’re interacting traffic with a railroad, and a lot of the traffic that stops at railroads is usually tanker trucks with banned products, as well as buses for kids,” Adley said. “And so, trying to separate the traffic, from a grade separation aspect, will allow traffic to continue to flow, but it will also increase safety.”

Before building the Northbound bridge, crossing roads must be laid to properly switch traffic.

INDOT plans to finish the northbound bridge this year and the southbound bridge next year, although the project could stretch until 2025.

INDOT stated:

A two-year U.S. 31 bridge construction project over Elkhart Western Railroad will commence. INDOT will keep cars on this vital corridor during bridge building by changing one side of the highway to two-way traffic. This project will improve safety and mobility on U.S. 31 by eliminating the railroad crossing. Seven INDOT collisions occurred here between 2018 and 2022. All seven featured school buses or tanker tankers that must stop at railroad crossings. These crashes caused 38 injuries and one death.”

Bajek stated:

The contract was awarded February 21. Phend & Brown Inc. received $28,781,891.68. Construction should begin in early to mid-April. The northbound bridge will be built first, thus southbound traffic will be two-way. Northbound this year, southbound next year.

US 2 Culbertson Project Construction Starts

Original Source: Construction To Begin On US 2 – Culbertson Project

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and Knife River Construction are planning a spring US 2 project. The US 2 – Culbertson project continues Roosevelt County roadway upgrades to improve safety, pedestrian accessibility, drainage, and roadway conditions in Culbertson.

The project will repair about 1 mile of US Highway 2 (US 2) west of 3rd Ave. W. easterly through the community to link to the recent highway renovation near the Culbertson Museum. The project will repair the road surface and install curb, gutter, storm drainage, ADA-compliant sidewalks, and signs in urban US 2 neighborhoods.

This 1956-built section of US 2 needs urgent repair. US 2 will be resurfaced to fix road degradation. MDT will resurface US 2 with concrete for large trucks. Asphalt will cover the remainder.

“During work hours, motorists on US 2 should expect small delays, flaggers and signals directing traffic, single-lane restrictions, and decreased speed limits,” said MDT Glendive District project manager Pete Davies. Construction will limit US 2 parking. You must keep roadway crews safe while MDT and Knife River maintain traffic flow.

MDT advises motorists to stay out for the “cone zone” and highway workers during construction season. Road Workers operate near fast-moving automobiles. While they work safely, they rely on motorists to slow down and be mindful in work zones.

“We’re pleased to help Culbertson drivers with this endeavor. We appreciate drivers slowing down and watching out for construction personnel “Kelly Brown, Knife River project manager

US manufacturing construction spending peaks

Original Source: Construction spending on US manufacturing cements all-time highs

Nail your numbers.

Last year, the US spent unprecedented amounts on manufacturing construction, or creating the stuff that creates your stuff.

When China joined the WTO in 2001, America’s industrial capacity had stagnated after decades of 4% growth.

Funding has increased, and the US may finally be rebuilding capacity: The Wall Street Journal reported the largest capacity growth since 2015 in 2022.


Cars and chips—not potatoes.

The CHIPS and Science Act is investing billions in semiconductor manufacturing capacity, and the Inflation Reduction Act is investing billions in EV battery production, partly driven by pandemic supply chain restructuring.

In 2022, WSJ reported these two businesses accounted for half of US industrial construction by square footage.

America may struggle to staff these factories. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates its industry, which employs ~10% of the US workforce (~13m people), needs 800k workers.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed the three construction workers who were injured Tuesday when Savannah’s 124-year-old federal courthouse’s upper floor fell. Savannah Fire Battalion Chief Wayne Ifill said none of the three workers’ injuries were life-threatening after a part of the courthouse’s third floor collapsed. They were safe inside, he said.

Meanwhile, the BLM has approved a 732-mile high-voltage transmission line in the West to transmit renewable energy. According to the BLM, the TransWest Express Project will run from southeastern Wyoming to Colorado’s northwest corner, through Utah’s center, and into Nevada’s southern part.

Nonetheless, related Builders and Contractors reported the lowest backlog since August 2022 in March. It will also take time to replace Marshall County’s U.S. 31 bridge. The two-year project would prioritize safety, according to 16 News Now. Traffic will be safely diverted over the train tracks with this $28.7 million project, minimizing accidents, especially those that occur while automobiles are stalled in traffic before the railroad crossing.

In addition, Knife River Construction and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) are planning for a US 2 project this spring. This project will restore about 1 mile of US Highway 2 (US 2) west of 3rd Ave. W. easterly through town to link with the recently completed highway rehabilitation near the Culbertson Museum.

In urban locations along US 2, this project will repair the road surface and install new curb and gutter, storm drainage, ADA-compliant pathways, and signs. When China joined the WTO in 2001, America’s industrial capacity stagnated after decades of 4% growth. The Wall Street Journal reported that capacity will rise the highest since 2015 in 2022, allowing the US to rebuild capacity.