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FHWA REPORTS ROAD CONSTRUCTION COSTS FOR SECOND QUARTER OF 1998

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Highway Administration

FHWA REPORTS ROAD CONSTRUCTION COSTS FOR SECOND QUARTER OF 1998

Federal Highway Administration
August 6, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 6, 1998
Contacts: Karen Whitney, (202) 366-0660
Claretta Duren, (202) 366-4636
FHWA 32-98

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced that highway construction costs increased 3.8 percent in the second quarter of 1998, and decreased 5.98 percent compared to the second quarter a year ago.

The second quarter results raised the FHWA's composite index for highway construction costs to 124.2 percent of the 1987 base index (1987 average costs equal 100 percent).

A large increase in the unit price for bituminous concrete raised the index in the second quarter. There were decreases in the unit prices for portland cement concrete, common excavation, structural concrete, structural steel and reinforcing steel.

The three-quarter moving composite price index for the first quarter of 1998 -- obtained by combining data for the last quarter of 1997 with the first two quarters of 1998 -- decreased 0.5 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

2nd Quarter1

1996 1995

118.0

--

121.3

--

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

124.1

-0.5

2nd Quarter

1998

124.2

3.8

--

--

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 2nd 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 = 100

Percentage change

this quarter

(2nd quarter, 1998) from:

Component

2nd Quarter 1998

1st Quarter 1998

2nd Quarter 1997

1st Quarter 1998

2nd Quarter 1997

Excavation

115.8

123.1

133.9

-5.9

-13.5

Portland cement concrete

149.2

158.9

158.8

-6.1

-6.0

Bituminous concrete

112.3

68.8

118.4

63.2

-5.2

Composite surfacing

124.5

98.4

131.6

26.5

-5.4

Reinforcing steel

118.8

147.0

133.0

-19.2

-10.7

Structural steel

119.9

129.7

124.3

-7.6

-3.5

Structural concrete

132.9

139.4

128.4

-4.7

3.5

Composite structures

126.9

138.2

128.1

-8.2

-0.9

Composite price index

124.2

119.6

130.4

3.8

-4.8

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

Three-Quarter Moving Price Index

1987 = 100

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

114.9

116.2

117.4

-1.1

-2.1

Portland cement concrete

160.4

166.4

150.6

-3.6

6.5

Bituminous concrete

96.2

95.6

122.7

0.6

-21.6

Composite surfacing

117.3

118.8

131.8

-1.3

-11.0

Reinforcing steel

129.9

132.9

125.2

-2.3

3.8

Structural steel

133.2

136.3

126.6

-2.3

5.2

Structural concrete

134.8

131.5

128.5

2.5

4.9

Composite structures

133.5

133.0

127.4

0.4

4.8

Composite price index

124.1

124.7

127.7

-0.5

-2.8

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

Individual Quarters

Three-Quarters

Component

Unit

1st Quarter 1998

2nd Quarter 1998

4th Quarter 19971

1st Quarter 19982

Excavation Cubic yard

$2.99

$2.81

$2.82

$2.79

Portland cement concrete Square yard3

23.42

21.98

24.51

23.63

Bituminous concrete Ton

16.95

27.69

23.56

23.72

Reinforcing steel Pound

0.648

0.521

0.586

0.572

Structural steel Pound

1.148

1.061

1.207

1.179

Structural concrete Cubic yard

335.78

319.99

316.75

324.64

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

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