In today’s construction news, rediscovered a semi that hit and killed a construction worker early Thursday morning on U.S. 35 West in Riverside. Meanwhile, West Virginia challenged a lower court’s verdict that temporarily stopped the building of a controversial natural gas pipeline despite a congressional directive. On the other hand, VinFast announced on Wednesday that it would begin building a $4 billion electric vehicle facility in North Carolina next week as part of its US expansion. Lastly, as limited inventory in the current house market continued to drive interest in new homes, US home building dropped 8% following May’s unexpected surge.
Riverside Construction Worker Perishes After Being Struck by a Vehicle on US 35
Early Thursday morning on U.S. 35 West in Riverside, a semi killed a construction worker.
Near the Woodman Drive flyover construction zone, the crash was reported at 4 a.m.
“Unfortunately there was a subject that was struck by a semi truck and that subject was transported to Miami Valley Hospital where he subsequently died from his injuries,” said Riverside police Maj. Matthew Sturgeon.
There were no other injuries.
“More than anything our sympathies go out to the family,” Sturgeon said. “You have to be very aware in these zones. They work late. Take care.”
He didn’t say where the worker was hit.
This week, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is joining a multi-state campaign to urge drivers to yield to law officers and road employees. Ohio law mandates drivers to move into an adjacent lane for crews with flashing or spinning lights. If they can’t move, drivers should slow down and proceed cautiously.
Between 2015 and 2020, the Ohio Department of Transportation reported 5,226 Move Over collisions. Highway workers caused 40% of such crashes.
ODOT District 7 Deputy Director Bud O’Brien remarked, “We are deeply saddened today by the death of a fellow highway worker and member of our extended ODOT community.” Following this tragedy, our thoughts go out to the contractor and their crew. Tonight, we pray for their families.”
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 1,884 work zone crashes have occurred in Ohio this year, five of which were deadly. Work zone crashes have killed four persons in Montgomery County.
As Riverside police and state patrol investigated, U.S. 35 West was closed for several hours Thursday morning. OSHP is reconstructing the crash and Riverside is investigating, Sturgeon said.
He said it’s too early to discuss criminal charges.
The semi truck driver stayed after the incident. Investigators were receiving “100% cooperation,” according to Sturgeon.
According to ODOT traffic cameras, U.S. reopened at 9:30 a.m.
US Supreme Court Requested Overturning Mountain Valley Pipeline Development Ban
West Virginia is appealing a court order that temporarily halted building of a controversial natural gas pipeline.
The state appealed a lower court’s verdict that temporarily banned building of a controversial natural gas pipeline in West Virginia, despite a Congressional order allowing it.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, had no jurisdiction to prohibit the Mountain Valley Pipeline, according to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. In a statement Monday, he said any objections to Congress’ action must be handled by a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.
Morrisey petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Morrisey said, “The Mountain Valley Pipeline is vital to the survival of American energy independence and affects thousands of jobs in West Virginia—its completion is also critical to our national security, the urgent need is for it to be completed as soon as possible.”
Last month, Congress ordered all pipeline permits for Virginia and West Virginia’s steep mountains. The development proposal will erode soil and water, according to environmentalists.
The pipeline bill was part of a bipartisan debt ceiling bill. It removed jurisdiction from the 4th Circuit Court. The measure contradicts the separation of powers, according to environmentalists.
On July 10, the appeals court stayed a 3-mile (5-kilometer) pipeline segment through the Jefferson National Forest. On July 11, the court imposed a similar stay in companion litigation arguing the pipeline would violate the Endangered Species Act. Environmentalists made identical constitutional arguments in that case.
The pipeline operators say the project is nearly complete and that only 3 acres (one hectare) of trees need to be cut, compared to more than 4,400 acres (1,700 hectares) already cleared.
Gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio’s Marcellus and Utica resources will be transported through the $6.6 billion, 300-mile (500-kilometer) pipeline to supply South and Mid-Atlantic energy needs.
The Development of VinFast’s US Factory Will Begin the Following Week
As part of its US expansion, Vietnamese manufacturer VinFast announced on Wednesday that it would begin building a $4 billion electric vehicle facility in North Carolina next week.
The largest company in Vietnam, Vingroup (VIC.HM), announced the U.S. facility last year. It plans to begin production around 2025.
“When it begins operations, the factory will be VinFast’s primary supplier of electric vehicles to the North American market,” said Thuy Le, VinFast Auto’s CEO.
A $2 billion factory that can produce 150,000 vehicles a year is the project’s first phase.
VinFast is one of several EV startups struggling to maintain a foothold as industry leaders Tesla (TSLA.O) and China’s BYD (002594.SZ) engage in a price battle at a time when major markets’ demand appears to be waning.
In March, the EV firm began delivering cars to California after receiving $2.5 billion in capital from its creator and parent business.
Vinfast had filed for a U.S. initial public offering to raise funding for its North Carolina business, but in May it said it would merge with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC),) Black Spade Acquisition Co.
According to the company’s founder, the Vietnamese manufacturer intends to sell 50,000 EVs this year, an approximately seven-fold increase over 2022, and break even by 2024.
In the US, New Home Construction Dropped by 8% Last Month
Original Source: Construction of new homes fell 8% in the US last month
As limited inventory in the current house market continued to drive interest in new homes, US home building dropped 8% following May’s unexpected surge.
According to Census Bureau statistics issued Wednesday, housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.43 million, below economists’ forecasts of 1.48 million.
Units dropped 8.1% year-over-year.
“Despite May’s breakout starts and permits data, June’s numbers showed homebuilders are still struggling with high mortgage rates, high construction costs, and limited land to build,” said Navy Federal Credit Union corporate economist Robert Frick. “More new houses were never going to save a housing market with low inventory, expensive homes, and high rates, but it’s been helping this year, especially as the median price for a new home has fallen.”
Single-family housing starts, which make up most of the building, decreased 7% in June to 935,000. 482,000 multi-family starts dropped 11.6%.
June building permits dipped to 1.44 million, seasonally adjusted. Permits fell 3.7% from the revised May rate and 15.3% from a year ago.
Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American Financial Corporation, said increased mortgage rates could hurt builders as owners burrow down.
“Reduced affordability, supply-side issues, and tighter lending standards for acquisition, development, and construction loans could slow builder momentum.”
Freddie Mac reported a 6.67% average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the week ending June 22. Rates were 7% three weeks later. Kushi said rising mortgage rates reduced home-buying power by $10,000, holding household income constant.
“There is pent-up demand in the housing market, but higher rates strain affordability,” said Kushi.
“Cautiously optimistic” builders
Despite rising rates, builders are confident.
The National Association of house Builders released a separate survey on Tuesday showing that the dearth of inventory in the existing house market—as current homeowners burrow down with ultra-low borrowing rates—continues to bolster home builder sentiment even as their expenses remain high.
The National Association of house Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index analyzes current sales, buyer traffic, and new house sales over the next six months.
In June, builder confidence grew for the seventh straight month to its highest level since June 2017.
“The lack of resale inventory means prospective home buyers who have not been priced out of the market continue to seek out new construction in greater numbers,” said NAHB Chairman Alicia Huey. “Builders are also concerned about rising mortgage rates approaching 7% and supply-side issues like electrical transformer equipment shortages and lot availability.”
According to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz, building more for-rent and for-sale housing is the best strategy to reduce “shelter” inflation, which accounts for 40% of the CPI.
Dietz noted that the quarter-point rise in mortgage rates over the past month is a stark reminder of the market’s stop-and-start process as the Federal Reserve nears the end of its tightening cycle.
Builders are hesitant to budget rates.
As the market has firmed and resale inventory remains restricted, builders’ usage of sales incentives has decreased, even though interest rates remain high, according to the July builders’ survey. 22% of builders lowered pricing in July. 25% in June, 27% in May.
Summary of today’s construction news
In summary, Post-crash, the semi truck driver remained. Sturgeon claimed detectives had “100% cooperation” from everyone. ODOT traffic cameras showed the U.S. reopened at 9:30 a.m.
Meanwhile, Gas from the Marcellus and Utica resources in Pennsylvania and Ohio will be transported via the $6.6 billion, 300-mile (500-kilometer) pipeline to meet South and Mid-Atlantic energy needs.
On the other hand, the Vietnamese automaker’s founder plans to sell 50,000 EVs this year, approximately seven times more than in 2022, and break even by 2024.
Lastly, As the market has firmed and resale inventory remains restricted, builders’ usage of sales incentives has decreased, even though interest rates remain high, according to the July builders’ survey. 22% of builders lowered pricing in July. 25% in June, 27% in May.