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FHWA REPORTS ROAD CONSTRUCTION COSTS FOR FIRST QUARTER OF 1998

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Highway Administration

FHWA REPORTS ROAD CONSTRUCTION COSTS FOR FIRST QUARTER OF 1998

Federal Highway Administration
May 11, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 11, 1998
Contacts: Karen Whitney, (202) 366-0660
Claretta Duren, (202) 366-4636
FHWA 18-98

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced that highway construction costs decreased 13.5 percent in the first quarter of 1998 compared to the last quarter of 1997, and 10.5 percent compared to the first quarter a year ago.

The first quarter results lowered the FHWA's composite index for highway construction costs to 119.6 percent of the 1987 base index (1987 average costs equal 100 percent).

Decreases in the unit prices for portland cement concrete, bituminous concrete, structural steel and structural concrete reduced the index in the first quarter. There was an increase in the unit prices for common excavation and reinforcing steel.

The three-quarter moving composite price index for the fourth quarter of 1997 -- obtained by combining data for the last two quarters of 1997 with the first quarter of 1998 -- decreased 3.6 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

1st Quarter1

1996 1995

126.4

--

121.8

--

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

124.7

-3.6

1st Quarter

1998

119.6

-13.5

--

--

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 1st quarter of 1998, the previous quarter, and the same quarter a year ago, and the corresponding percentage changes, are shown in the following table:

 

Price Index
1987 = 10v

Percentage change this quarter (1st quarter, 1998) from:
Component

1st Quarter 1998

4th Quarter 1997

1st Quarter 1997

4th Quarter 1997

1st Quarter 1997

Excavation

123.1

102.7

111.3

19.9

10.6

Portland cement concrete

158.9

192.5

152.2

-17.5

4.4

Bituminous concrete

68.8

126.4

128.3

-45.6

-46.4

Composite surfacing

98.4

148.1

136.2

-33.6

-27.8

Reinforcing steel

147.0

124.7

131.8

17.9

11.5

Structural steel

129.7

171.9

131.8

-24.5

-1.6

Structural concrete

139.4

131.9

144.2

5.7

-3.3

Composite structures

138.2

141.2

138.8

-2.1

-0.4

Composite price index

119.6

138.2

133.6

-13.5

-10.5

The price levels of the current component items of the three-quarter moving 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:

 

Three-Quarter Moving 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

116.2

120.4

117.5

-3.5

-1.1

Portland cement concrete

166.4

167.4

144.5

-0.6

15.2

Bituminous concrete

95.6

116.2

118.5

-17.7

-19.3

Composite surfacing

118.8

132.9

127.0

-10.6

-6.5

Reinforcing steel

132.9

126.9

126.5

4.7

5.1

Structural steel

136.3

135.4

126.3

0.7

7.9

Structural concrete

131.5

126.9

127.4

3.6

3.2

Composite structures

133.0

129.2

126.9

2.9

4.8

Composite price index

124.7

129.4

122.9

-3.6

1.5

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

 

Individual Quarters

Three-Quarters
Component

Unit

4th Quarter 1997

1st Quarter 1998

3rd Quarter 19971

4th Quarter 19972

Excavation Cubic yard

$2.49

$2.99

$2.92

$2.82

Portland cement concrete Square yard3

28.35

23.42

24.58

24.51

Bituminous concrete Ton

31.14

16.95

28.63

23.56

Reinforcing steel Pound

0.549

0.648

0.559

0.586

Structural steel Pound

1.521

1.148

1.199

1.207

Structural concrete Cubic yard

317.61

335.78

305.82

316.75

1 Weighted average unit prices for the last three quarters of 1997.

2 Weighted average unit prices for the last two quarters of 1997 and the first quarter of 1998.

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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