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FHWA REPORTS ROAD CONSTRUCTION COSTS FOR SECOND QUARTER OF 1999

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Highway Administration

FHWA REPORTS ROAD CONSTRUCTION COSTS FOR SECOND QUARTER OF 1999

Federal Highway Administration
August 3, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 3, 1999
Contacts: Karen Whitney, (202)366-0660
Claretta Duren, (202)366-4636
FHWA 51-99

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced that highway construction costs increased 9.7 percent in the second quarter of 1999 compared to the last quarter of 1998, and increased 14.2 percent compared to the second quarter a year ago.

The second quarter results raised the FHWA's composite index for highway construction costs to 143.4 percent of the 1987 base index (1987 average costs equal 100 percent).

Increases in the unit prices for bituminous concrete, reinforcing steel, common excavation, portland cement concrete, and structural concrete raised the index in the second quarter. The unit price for structural steel was lower for the second quarter index.

The three-quarter moving composite price index for the first quarter of 1999 – obtained by combining data for the last quarter of 1998 with the first two quarters of 1999 – increased 1.2 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

1997

130.4

--

129.3

--

3rd Quarter

1997

122.3

11.8

129.4

0.1

4th Quarter

1997

138.2

-1.1

124.7

-3.6

1st Quarter

1998 1997

119.6

-7.4

124.6

-0.1

2nd Quarter

1998

125.6

13.0

125.8

1.0

3rd Quarter

1998

136.8

-13.5

130.6

3.8

4th Quarter

1998

131.4

-3.9

132.8

1.7

1st Quarter

1999

130.7

-0.5

134.4

1.2

2nd Quarter

1999

143.4

9.7

--

--

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 1999, 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, 1999) from:

Component

2nd Quarter 1999

1st Quarter 1999

2nd Quarter 1998

1st Quarter 1999

2nd Quarter 1998

Excavation

133.5

113.5

120.3

17.6

11.0

Portland cement concrete

197.3

149.9

153.0

31.6

29.0

Bituminous concrete

132.6

120.7

113.4

9.9

16.9

Composite surfacing

153.9

130.3

126.4

18.1

21.8

Reinforcing steel

124.3

123.2

118.9

0.9

4.5 4.5

Structural steel

136.3

139.1

119.7

-2.0

13.9

Structural concrete

141.1

140.2

132.2

0.6

6.7

Composite structures

136.9

136.9

126.6

0.0

8.1

Composite price index

143.4

130.7

125.6

9.7

14.2

The price levels of the current component items of the three-quarter moving index in the 1st quarter of 1999, 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 1999) from:

Component

1st Quarter 1999

4th Quarter 1998

1st Quarter 1998

4th Quarter 1998

1st Quarter 1998

Excavation

118.7

121.7

116.6

-2.5

1.8

Portland cement concrete

168.5

159.9

161.7

5.4

4.2

Bituminous concrete

120.3

119.4

96.7

0.8

24.4

Composite surfacing

136.1

132.7

118.1

2.6

15.2

Reinforcing steel

126.2

118.1

130.0

6.9

-2.9

Structural steel

134.5

133.3

132.9

0.9

1.2

Structural concrete

143.6

143.8

134.4

-0.1

6.8

Composite structures

138.2

136.6

133.3

1.2

3.7

Composite price index

134.4

132.8

124.6

1.2

7.9

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 1999

2nd Quarter 1999

4th Quarter 19981

1st Quarter 19992

Excavation Cubic yard

$2.75

$3.24

$2.95

$2.88

Portland cement concrete Square yard3

22.09

29.06

23.55

24.82

Bituminous concrete Ton

29.74

32.70

29.43

29.65

Reinforcing steel Pound

0.543

0.548

0.521

0.556

Structural steel Pound

1.231

1.207

1.180

1.190

Structural concrete Cubic yard

337.56

339.87

346.25

345.75

1 Weighted average unit prices for the last three quarters of 1998.

2 Weighted average unit prices for the last two quarters of 1998 and the first quarter of 1999.

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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