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ROAD CONSTRUCTION COSTS UP FOR FOURTH QUARTER OF 1997

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Highway Administration

ROAD CONSTRUCTION COSTS UP FOR FOURTH QUARTER OF 1997

Federal Highway Administration
February 19, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 19, 1998
Contacts: Karen Whitney, (202)366-0660
Claretta Duren, (202)366-4636
FHWA 9-98

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced that highway construction costs increased 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 1997.

The fourth quarter results raised the FHWA's composite index for highway construction costs to 138.2 percent of the 1987 base index (1987 average costs equal 100 percent).

Increases in the unit prices for reinforcing steel, Portland cement concrete, bituminous concrete, structural steel and structural concrete raised the index in the fourth quarter. There was a decrease in the unit price for common excavation.

The three-quarter moving composite price index for the third quarter of 1997 -- obtained by combining data for the first three quarters of 1997 -- increased 0.1 percent from the previous three-quarter average.

Trends in highway construction costs are measured by an index of average contract prices compiled from reports of state highway contract awards for federal-aid contracts greater than $500,000. Since the enactment of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, the index reflects federal-aid contracts on the National Highway System.

The composite price indices during the past two years and the percentage changes from the preceding quarter have been as follows:

Quarter

Year

Quarterly Price Index

Percentage Change

Three-quarter Moving Index1

Percentage Change

4th Quarter1

1995

124.8

--

122.9

--

1st Quarter

1996

126.4

1.3

121.8

-0.9

2nd Quarter

1996

118.0

-6.6

121.3

-0.4

3rd Quarter

1996

124.3

5.3

119.5

-1.5

4th Quarter

1996

119.5

-3.9

125.6

5.1

1st Quarter

1997

133.6

11.8

128.0

1.9

2nd Quarter

1997

132.1

-1.1

129.3

1.0

3rd Quarter

1997

122.3

-7.4

129.4

0.1

4th Quarter

1997

138.2

13.0

--

--

1 For the three-quarter moving index, these are the middle quarters of the three-quarter periods.

The price levels of the component items of the quarterly index in the 4th quarter of 1997, the previous quarter, and the same quarter a year ago, and the corresponding percentage changes, are shown in the following table:

Price Index
1987 = 100

Percentage change
this quarter

(4th quarter, 1997) from:

Component

4th Quarter 1997

3rd Quarter 1997

4th Quarter 1996

3rd Quarter 1997

4th Quarter 1996

Excavation

102.7

118.9

112.3

-13.6

-8.5

Portland cement concrete

192.5

163.7

138.3

17.6

39.2

Bituminous concrete

126.4

106.9

121.2

18.2

4.3

Composite surfacing

148.1

125.5

126.8

18.0

16.8

Reinforcing steel

124.7

121.4

113.3

2.7

10.1

Structural steel

171.9

119.2

121.5

44.2

41.5

Structural concrete

131.9

120.6

112.9

9.4

16.8

Composite structures

141.2

120.4

115.2

17.3

22.6

Composite price index

138.2

122.3

119.5

13.0

15.6

The price levels of the current component items of the three-quarter moving index in the 3rd quarter of 1997, the previous quarter, and the same quarter a year ago, and the corresponding percentage changes, are shown in the following table:

Three-Quarter Moving Price Index|
1987 = 100

Percentage Change This Quarter
(3rd Quarter 1997) from:

Component

3rd Quarter 1997

2nd Quarter 1997

3rd Quarter 1996

2nd Quarter 1997

3rd Quarter 1996

Excavation

120.4

120.9

120.6

-0.4

-0.2

Portland cement concrete

167.4

157.2

128.1

6.5

30.7

Bituminous concrete

116.2

117.5

112.5

-1.1

3.3

Composite surfacing

132.9

130.5

117.6

1.8

13.0

Reinforcing steel

126.9

129.6

123.8

-2.1

2.5

Structural steel

135.4

126.6

119.4

7.0

13.4

Structural concrete

126.9

133.5

120.5

-4.9

5.3

Composite structures

129.2

131.0

120.8

-1.4

7.0

Composite price index

129.4

129.3

119.5

0.1

8.3

The U.S. average contract unit prices for the index items during the various periods shown are:

Individual Quarters

Three-Quarters

Component

Unit

3rd Quarter 1997

4th Quarter 1997

2nd Quarter 19971

3rd Quarter 19962

Excavation Cubic yard

$2.88

$2.49

$3.05

$2.92

Portland cement concrete Square yard3

24.10

28.35

19.40

24.65

Bituminous concrete Ton

26.30

31.14

26.99

28.63

Reinforcing steel Pound

0.54

0.549

.0548

0.559

Structural steel Pound

1.06

1.521

1.066

1.199

Stuctural concrete Cubic yard

290.00

317.61

302.17

305.82

1 Weighted average unit prices for the last quarter of 1996 and the first two quarters of 1997.
2 Weighted average unit prices for the first three quarters of 1997.
3 Prices for Portland cement concrete surfacing reflect adjustments to a standard 9-inch thickness and do not include costs for reinforcing steel and joints.

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