Highway, Bridge Contract Awards Down 3 Percent

March 4, 2013

Over the last 12 months, the value of highway and bridge contract awards was down 3 percent compared to the previous 12-month period, according to analysis of McGraw-Hill Dodge data by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

Accounting for changes in wages, materials and inflation, state and local governments awarded $54.3 billion in real highway and bridge contracts between February 2012 and January 2013, compared to $55.8 billion between February 2011 and January 2012.

“We did see a significant jump in the value of awards in January 2013,” says ARTBA’s Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black. “Although that is a positive sign, the increase was primarily due to several large projects in Arizona, Arkansas, California, New York and Virginia.”

The real value of highway contract awards is down in 23 states and Washington, D.C., up in 20 states, and within a range of plus or minus 5 percent in seven states. Bridge awards are down in 22 states and Washington, D.C., up in 24 states and within a range of plus or minus 5 percent in four states.

“This tells us that nearly half the states are pulling back on their programs,” Black noted. “The good news is that we do expect to see an uptick in activity later this year given the recent increase in federal aid obligations – many of those projects should go through the bidding and awards process over the next few months. It remains to be seen, however, if it will be enough to provide real growth in the highway and bridge construction market by the end of 2013.”