Fuel, steel, now cement?

News AASHTO Journal September 03, 2004
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The Portland Cement Association reported that the price of concrete products rose 0

The Portland Cement Association reported that the price of concrete products rose 0.4% in July are are up 4.6% since last year, which is causing some delays and concerns among the construction industry and transportation community. The costs of steel has mirrored that rise in past months, but slowed in July.


PCA reports steel prices have risen 44% over the last year and 35% in the last six months, but slowed to 2.3% in July. In response to the steel price hikes, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials' Highway Subcommittee on Construction convened a special task force to follow their impacts on construction projects. In April, the Federal Highway Administration announced that it would allow states to use their own funds to pay for retroactive costs adjustments due to rising steel costs on joint projects.


Subcommittee Chairman Len Sanderson, North Carolina State Highway Administrator, said the concrete crunch has not reached the construction crisis that steel has, but it is having a drag on projects--particularly in the Southeastern U.S., which imports more of the main ingredient to make concrete. "Some states are having issues with the way cement is apportioned out," he said.


The Associated General Contractors of America also is reporting construction delays because of the cement shortage and in late June called on U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans to temporarily lift the tariff on Mexican cement products.


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