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Effects of COVID-19 on Construction

The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected various industries all around the world. The effects of COVID-19 have especially left an impact on the construction industry.

Some of these effects of COVID-19 are temporary, but others are permanent and may be felt for years to come. Here are a few short-term and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the construction industry.

COVID-19 Effects on Construction Industries

Increase in Safety Measures

The fast spread of COVID-19 instigated the creation of new safety measures in the workplace. The virus pushes a heavy focus on workplace safety which officials speculate will continue in the long-term.

Although not all of these safety measures will persist after the pandemic, most likely some are here to stay. This could include adjustments to preexisting safety policies.

Construction Budget Cuts

In addition to the effects that remote work and schedule delays have on construction, the demands of the industry will change as well.

States are allocating more funds to healthcare and prevention thus other areas such as public transportation are experiencing a decrease.  Furthermore, with the mandatory shutdown, fewer people are driving, thus states are collecting less gas tax and tolls. Because of fewer vehicles on the road this year, the demand for repairing roads will decrease as well.

In addition, many construction businesses are operating at an all-time low with private funded projects becoming scarce.

Shortages and Supply Changes

China is the largest single supplier to the United States, providing nearly 30 percent of all building products. The initial government shutdown had many construction companies in a panic searching for back-up suppliers.

Additionally, this causes the delay of many construction projects as the demand is too high for alternative suppliers to fulfill on their own. As a means to avoid this, more and more companies intend to retain permanent relations with domestic and foreign suppliers moving forward.

The Election and Industry Outlook

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris plan to invest heavily in America’s infrastructure. shared their goal of transforming the economy through increased investments in infrastructure.

“We’ve seen the need for a more resilient economy for the long-term, and that means investing in a modern, sustainable infrastructure and sustainable engines of growth — from roads and bridges, to energy grids and schools, to universal broadband,” the Biden-Harris Transition website states.

As part of the economic recovery plan, infrastructure is one of four areas that president-elect Biden intends to redevelop.

Additionally, the campaign plan includes increasing domestic manufacturing to avoid the over-dependency of foreign supply chains.

Bridge Construction Market Outlook after COVID-19

At the present time, the funding and demand within the bridge construction industry is decreasing. However, it is projected to steadily increase in the coming years.

A recent report shows that the global bridge construction industry is expected to reach just over $1 trillion by 2027. That’s an increase from $908 million, a 4.6 percent compound annual growth rate. This is due to various reasons, such as the increase of demand that infrastructure will receive from the pent-up projects and repairs, more vehicles on roadways, the rise in domestic manufacturing, and the growth of private construction businesses.

U.S. Bridge: Leaders in Steel Bridge Construction

U.S. Bridge has been engineering and manufacturing steel bridges for decades. We are proud to contribute sustainable solutions to America’s infrastructure, even amidst the effect of COVID-19.

We understand that a bridge project is a major investment. That being said, we’re here to help you from the beginning of your project through the end. Get a quote from us for your next bridge project or learn more about our steel bridges. Together, we’ll build a better future for America’s infrastructure.

Transportation Infrastructure

Drivers in America drove over 3.2 trillion miles in 2018 — an average of some 14,000 miles per licensed driver. But much of these travels are along a U.S. transportation infrastructure that is quickly deteriorating and needs federal funding.

According to an April update from TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit based in Washington D.C., “the need for transportation improvements far outpaces the amount of state and federal funding available.” As of 2020, 43% of major roads in the U.S. are in poor or mediocre condition. In addition, 7% of bridges are in poor or structurally deficient condition.

U.S. Transportation Infrastructure is falling behind

In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers assessed the condition of America’s roads as a D grade. Additionally, overall condition was given a D+. In three years since, vehicle travel has increased 17%. But new traffic has failed to be mitigated, with only a 5% increase in new roadways constructed.

The effect? 6.9 billion hours a year in traffic. On average, it costs $603 per year for each American motorist, according to the TRIP data. This is despite the state Department of Transportations spending more building new roads than maintaining the ones they have that are in bad condition.

“Most systems that make up our network of interstate highways are at least 50 years old, so there has to be substantial reinvestment to make sure those assets can keep up with daily wear and tear,” Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said to the New York Times.

Voting for improved roads

The backlog for transportation infrastructure improvement has a great effect on voters. In 2018, 270 of 305 transportation-related state and local ballot measures were approved, according to the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center.

Clearly, there is a need for more funding on every government level. And it’s the every-day civilian motorist that’s feeling the effect.

Why improve roads and bridges?

Roads and bridges are essential parts of America’s economy. Bridges transport trillions of dollars in goods every year, create jobs, connect communities, and allow motorists to travel feely. These central parts of the U.S. economy are in critical need of repair and improvement, and these improvements can create economic recovery.

Boost the economy

The design, construction and maintenance of America’s roads and bridges supports approximately 4 million full-time jobs. By investing into transportation infrastructure, the government can create valuable jobs. In the long-term, this will enhance economic competitiveness and stimulate sustained job growth.

Improve road safety

Between 2014 and 2018, an average of 35,784 people died on America’s roadways. A contributing factor to these accidents is the lack of adequate roadways safety features.

According to a 2017 report, every $100 million spent on roadway improvements would reduce the number of traffic fatalities by 44 and serious traffic injuries by 760 over a 20-year period. Not only are motorists losing precious time due to a decrepit transportation system, many have lost their lives.

With safety improvements such as passing lanes, wider lanes, medians, turning lanes, and clearing roadside objects, many accidents and costs to motorists can be avoided.

COVID-19 and Transportation Infrastructure

Due to roads being less busy during the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have pushed to fast-track infrastructure construction projects. In many places this has been successful, and many projects are being completed faster than originally planned.

However, once roads return to relative normality, the long-term effect of COVID-19 could be catastrophic to transportation infrastructure. Keep in mind, the fast-tracked projects were previously approved. With state budgets taking a large hit, it’s likely states will cut back on large infrastructure investments in the coming months and even years.

Budget loss due to COVID-19

As a result of the drop in traffic, state Departments of Transportations are estimated to lose an average of 30% of transportation revenues over the next 18 months. Some will lose even more. Meanwhile, the American Public Transportation Association has requested $24 billion to cover operational costs for hard-hit transportation agencies. With a recent grade of D+ for infrastructure, losing this time in improving the nation’s infrastructure could be catastrophic and even deadly in the long-term.

Improve America’s Transportation Infrastructure

The time for federal agencies to invest in America’s infrastructure is now. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government was in talks to pass a $760 billion five-year plan to invest in infrastructure. An investment of this magnitude is no longer optional — it’s essential to maintain our transportation infrastructure.

Not only will it create jobs and economic opportunity, but it will save countless lives as the roads and bridges improve over time. Countless industries have received federal stimulus and aid during this time. To ensure a safe future, infrastructure must be one of them.

U.S. Bridge is proud to contribute sustainable solutions to America’s infrastructure. Our bridges are sustainable and safe, making transportation possible for people everywhere. Get a quote from us for your next bridge project or learn more about our steel bridges. Together, we’ll build a better future for America’s infrastructure.