2022

MoDOT Improving I-55, I-70 Bridges and I-70 Pavement

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

Missouri Dept. of Transportation continues work on three major interstate heavy highway projects in 2022, two of them specific to highway bridge improvements.

MoDOT’s St. Louis District began all three of these infrastructure improvement projects in 2021 and expects to complete all three this year: I-55 bridge improvements in St. Louis City, I-70 bridge improvements on more than one dozen bridges north of downtown and I-70 pavement improvements.

The project to remove and replace driving surfaces on several bridges along I-55 into the city includes the northbound and southbound bridges over South Broadway and bridge surfaces at Virginia, Bates, Gasconade, Potomac, over South Second Street, River Des Peres, Koeln, Loughborough, the Union Pacific Railroad, Gravois Creek, Green Park and Bayless.

I-70 highway bridge improvements also wrapping up in 2022 include updated driving surfaces on 14 bridges between North Hanley and Madison Streets. MoDOT’s work includes an overlay on the Adelaide bridge.

Pavement improvements along I-70, to finish this year, include resurfacing of the interstate roadway between Branch and Biddle Streets. Sidewalk work on various sections of the outer roads between Salisbury and Biddle are also part of the project’s scope to ensure that the sidewalks meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

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Top 5 Construction Trends in 2022 Embody Existing Industry Priorities

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

As 2021 wraps and 2022 begins, construction industry players say these industry trends are lining up to manifest in the new year and beyond:

  • Better PPE for Women: Greater emphasis on inclusivity for women in construction, namely in the category of safety, is expected to continue as a solid trend in 2022. Personal protective equipment that is sized more proportionately for women is expected to increase in terms of offerings from an array of vendors.
  • Increased Use of Automation and Robotics: As labor shortages endure, adoption of automation and robotics in the construction world will also endure and increase as a major 2022 industry trend to allow teams across the state, region, nation and globe to work more productively and efficiently with fewer human operators.
  • Increased Use of 3D Printing: This is predicted by analysts to advance design and construction modeling. Inventions such as one that allows 3D printing of asphalt are expected to continue to enable the construction industry to elevate its game.
  • Widespread Digital Transformation: From the office to the project site, digitization will continue transforming the industry on into 2022 and beyond.
  • Greater Emphasis on Sustainability: Due to public interest in sustainability, this focus is a continuing trend that will drive high-profile projects and collaboration in 2022 as owners and teams concentrate on sourcing sustainable materials.
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2022 Real Estate Emerging Trends Include Uncertainty, Flexibility

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

The findings of PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and the Urban Land Institute’s annual survey, Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2022, were shared by Andy Warren, PwC director of research, during CREW-St. Louis’ annual forecast event on December 10.

Continued uncertainty and flexibility are trends dominating the commercial real estate market as brokers, investors, lenders and others look toward 2022. Some 1,200 professionals including private real estate property owners, investors, real estate advisors, servicing firms, asset managers, lenders and construction industry players from across the U.S. answered the survey in mid-2021.

“We made it through the pandemic, but there is a new age of uncertainty,” said Warren, one of several presenters at the CREW-St. Louis virtual event. “Covid impacted every geographic area of the country differently. Likewise, the recovery won’t occur the same everywhere. It looks like our real estate universe is going to get bigger, and that’s good news,” he added.

Among the thriving retail markets post-pandemic, according to survey findings, are dollar stores and home improvement stores. Office is amidst a major reset, the survey found, while certain property types and assets are obsolete as property managers strategize how to repurpose them.

42 percent of survey respondents strongly disagreed with the question, “Will business travel and large-group industry meetings return to pre-COVID-19 levels?” 29 percent agreed that large-group business travel will return to where it was pre-COVID.

“A total of 84 percent of respondents think that the real estate industry will be stronger in 2022 than it has been in 2021,” Warren said. “Although rising operating costs and difficulty obtaining materials are having an impact on inflation and on companies’ bottom lines, it’s not enough to offset the collective optimism for 2022. There is still strong demand in numerous real estate sectors.”

To download the full forecast report and survey findings, see

https://www.pwc.com/us/en/asset-management/real-estate/assets/pwc-emerging-trends-in-real-estate-2022.pdf

https://www.pwc.com/us/en/asset-management/real-estate/assets/pwc-emerging-trends-in-real-estate-2022.pdf
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Project Starts Projected to Rise 6 percent in 2022

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

Construction starts will increase by 6 percent next year, greater than 2019 peak levels, according to a forecast by Dodge Construction Network.

The forecasted increase in construction starts represents a decrease in growth from 2021, which Dodge predicts will total 12 percent.

Richard Branch, Dodge chief economist, says the main driver of the predicted 2022 increase in construction starts is residential construction. “When you take those numbers out of the equation, construction starts are predicted to rise by only 4 percent, dropping below 2019 figures,” he said. “There is a long road back to full recovery for construction. But assuming that all comes to pass, we’re looking at a fairly modest to moderate pace of growth in 2022 construction starts.”

Dodge’s Momentum Index, which has risen throughout 2021, is now at a 13-year high, according to Branch. The index measures nonresidential construction projects in the planning phase. Branch adds that the count of general building projects being bid is ahead of where the industry found itself at the start of 2020, and a little behind where the industry was in terms of bids during 2019.

Continued material price increases and supply shortage could impact 2022 construction project starts, he said. Although the price increases are beginning to ebb, they’re still up 30 percent compared to Q4 2020. Branch predicts these increases to continue until mid-2022.

Material delivery delays are impacting the project schedules of 60 percent of small contractors, according to Branch. “And that’s causing production delays, shipping delays and overall project delivery delays,” he said. “Our data show that construction projects in pre-planning stages are taking about nine months longer to break ground than they were prior to February 2020.”

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