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Construction Outlook Upbeat For Winter Despite Polar Vortex’s Return

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Conrad Kuiper
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Flickr Creative Commons

Last year, the polar vortex delayed many construction projects in our region. Equipment broke down, crews couldn’t work, and many materials had shipping problems, but this year the construction outlook is warming up.

Public works construction fell 9 percent this year.  That’s according to Dodge Data and Analytics, a research firm for the construction industry.  However, they predict a 5 percent jump in construction for 2015, with expectations that highway and bridge construction should stabilize. 

And while some forecasters including Accuweather say there will be yet another polar vortex this winter, it may not be as persistent or intense as the previous one.

This all warms Chris Runyan’s heart a little.  He’s president of the Ohio Contractors Association.  Its membership largely works in the road, highway, and resurfacing industry. 

“The hope is that we would have a warmer winter season this year, and there are a lot of projects…y’know these big mega projects, projects like resurfacing most of the counties, states, municipalities, that really rely on an around the year schedule.  That’s always very helpful when we get that kind of support.”

Runyan says last winter’s polar vortex disrupted lots of projects across Ohio. He says in some cases, contracts can be extended if conditions are just too harsh or dangerous.  And some construction can carry on through heaters and insulated covering for workers and equipment, though that adds to the final cost.