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FHWA Reports Road Construction Costs Down in Third Quarter of 2000

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Highway Administration

FHWA Reports Road Construction Costs Down in Third Quarter of 2000

Federal Highway Administration
November 14, 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 14, 2000
Contacts:
Karen Whitney, (202) 366-0660
Claretta Duren, (202) 366-4636
FHWA 122 -00

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced that highway construction costs decreased 11.9 percent in the third quarter of 2000 compared to the second quarter of 2000, and increased 4.6 percent compared to the third quarter a year ago.

The third quarter results lowered the FHWA's composite index for highway construction costs to 137.9 percent of the 1987 base index (1987 average costs equal 100 percent).

Decreases in the unit prices for bituminous concrete, reinforcing steel, common excavation, structural steel, portland cement concrete and structural concrete lowered the index in the third quarter.

The three-quarter moving composite price index for the second quarter of 2000 – obtained by combining data for the first three quarters of 2000 – decreased 0.6 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

3rd Quarter1 Quarter

1998

136.8

--

130.6

--

4th Quarter

1998

131.4

-1.1

132.8

1.7

1st Quarter

1999 1997

130.7

-7.4

134.4

1.2

2nd Quarter

1999

143.4

13.0

134.4

0.0

3rd Quarter

1999

131.8

-13.5

138.7

3.2

4th Quarter

1999

144.1

9.3

137.2

-1.1

1st Quarter

2000

138.1

-4.2

144.6

5.4

2nd Quarter

2000

156.6

13.4

143.8

-0.6

3rd Quarter

2000

137.9

-11.9

--

--

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 3rd quarter of 2000, 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
(3rd quarter, 2000) from:

Component

3rd Quarter 2000

2nd Quarter 2000

3rd Quarter 1999

2nd Quarter 2000

3rd Quarter 1999

Excavation

121.2

143.6

133.4

-15.6

-9.1

Portland cement concrete

167.4

170.2

127.1

-1.6

31.7

Bituminous concrete

140.2

148.9

136.0

-5.8

3.1

Composite surfacing

149.1

155.9

133.1

-4.4

12.0

Reinforcing steel

84.2

150.2

128.8

-43.9

-34.6

Structural steel

151.7

161.9

125.9

-6.3

20.5

Structural concrete

139.3

164.8

132.6

-15.5

5.1

Composite structures

133.2

161.5

130.2

-17.5

2.3

Composite price index

137.9

156.6

131.8

-11.9

4.6

 

 

The price levels of the current component items of the three-quarter moving index in the 2nd quarter of 2000, 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
(2nd Quarter 2000) from:

Component

2nd Quarter 2000

1st Quarter 2000

2nd Quarter 1999

1st Quarter 2000

2nd Quarter 1999

Excavation

124.1

118.6

125.1

4.6

-0.8

Portland cement concrete

168.7

173.0

152.2

-2.5

10.8

Bituminous concrete

141.1

138.5

129.7

1.9

8.8

Composite surfacing

150.2

149.8

137.1

.03

9.6

Reinforcing steel

120.9

135.5

125.2

-10.8

-3.4

Structural steel

145.9

144.6

135.1

0.9

8.0

Structural concrete

151.2

154.6

138.2

-2.2

9.4

Composite structures

144.6

148.7

135.1

-2.8

7.0

Composite price index

143.8

144.6

134.4

-0.6

7.0

 

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

Individual Quarters

 

Three-Quarters

 

Component

 

Unit

2nd Quarter 2000

3rd Quarter 2000

1st Quarter 20001

2nd Quarter 20002

Excavation

Cubic yard

3.48

2.94

2.88

3.01

Portland cement concrete

Square yard3

25.07

24.65

25.49

24.85

Bituminous concrete

Ton

36.72

34.55

34.13

34.78

Reinforcing steel

Pound

.662

0.371

0.597

0.533

Structural steel

Pound

1.432

1.343

1.280

1.291

Structural concrete

Cubic yard

396.92

335.58

372.31

364.08

1 Weighted average unit prices for the last quarter of 1999 and the first two quarters of 2000.

        2 Weighted average unit prices for the first three quarters of 2000.

        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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