Toenjes

AGC of Missouri, MoDOT Celebrate 65 Years of Interstates, Policy Org Releases Transport Report

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

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri, Missouri Dept. of Transportation and elected officials from St. Charles city and county celebrated the 65th anniversary of the genesis of America’s interstate highway system on Aug. 13.

Missouri was the first state to break ground on what would become a nationwide network of 46,876 paved miles of interstate routes, of which nearly 1,400 miles are in Missouri. During President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s term, the federal government let contracts to begin building. The stretch of Interstate 70 where last week’s celebration took place represents the first spot in the U.S. where shovels hit dirt to begin constructing the interstate system.

“Right here, the first shovel of dirt turned on the greatest economic engine in the U.S., our interstate system,” said Len Toenjes, president of the AGC of Missouri.

Tom Blair, MoDOT St. Louis District engineer, said the agency is ready to move forward on several Tier I projects awaiting funding through the proposed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal approved by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 10 and awaiting action in the House. The bill devotes $550 million in new spending for roads and bridges, broadband internet, public transit and electric utilities.

The prioritized (currently unfunded) projects are: I-70 at I-64, I-70 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, a segment of I-270 that is only two lanes in both directions and I-55 in Jefferson County.

“MoDOT stands ready to produce increased results as a result of this increased investment,” Blair said.

Also part of the Aug. 13 interstate anniversary celebration was Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, director of communications and research for TRIP, a DC-based nonprofit national transportation research group. The organization just released recommendations for the restoration and renewal of the interstate highway system. To see the full report, go to https://tripnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/TRIP_Missouri_Interstate_Report_August_2021.pdf

“As of May 2021, the level of interstate volume is 3 percent above 2019 levels,” said Kelly. “Missouri has the 9th highest volume in the nation in terms of interstate truck traffic. It’s critical that the U.S. provides long-term, sustainable and adequate transportation infrastructure funding. The long-term vision that helped establish our interstate highway system 65 years ago is needed again today.”

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Construction Update & Forecast

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How will St. Louis stimulate the construction market with economic development?

How are design professionals meeting demand in a tight labor market?

What’s the forecast for projects in the region?

How will the contractor sector address the challenges of expanded opportunities & changing labor laws?

7:00 – 9:30 am

Thurs., December 14, 2017

Engineering Center

4359 Lindell Blvd.

St. Louis, MO  63108

Presenters

Otis Williams, Executive Director, St. Louis Development Corporation

Margaret McDonald, Principal & Vice President of Interiors, HOK

Ron Wiese, ACW Alliance & Vice President, Alberici

Len Toenjes, President, Associated General Contractors of Missouri

Moderator

Kevin Studer, Senior Project Manager, Northstar Management

Sponsored by

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AGC Celebrates BuildMO Week

FacebooktwitterlinkedinmailThe AGC of Missouri kicked off BuildMO Week at PARIC’s 212 S. Meramec job site in Clayton on Monday. BuildMO Week celebrates the construction industry in Missouri. Additional events were held in Jefferson City and Springfield on October 11, and at the Construction Training Center in St. Louis on October 14.

Leonard Toenjes, president, AGC of Missouri, said 212 S. Meramec is a symbol of what construction means to the Missouri economy. By the time it is complete, it will have provided 250,000 hours of construction employment to area workers.

The 212 S. Meramec project is 382,666-square-foot, 26-story post-tension concrete high-rise building. When complete, it will be the largest multi-family, mixed-used building in Clayton. The $60 million tower will host retail space, a parking garage, 250 luxury apartments spread across the top 20 stories of the building, and a roof-top swimming pool.

Construction on the high-rise building began in October 2015, and completion is expected in June 2017.  During BuildMO Week, workers were pouring the 17th floor of the structure. Keith Wolkoff, president of PARIC, said that as of September 30, 2016, the 212 S. Meramec project had logged a total of 92,453 hours of work by laborers, carpenters, operators, ironworkers, electricians, sheet metal workers, plumbers, pipefitters, cement masons, sprinkler fitters, glaziers, tapers and roofers.

Keith Wolkoff
Keith Wolkoff

“Three years ago, the developer challenged us and our partners to deliver a best in class, mixed-use building with great amenities and a harmony of great design and marketability,” Wolkoff said. “We are very proud of the technology and innovation we’ve applied to this project to reach that goal, including BIM 3-D modeling to remove waste and robotic layout to eliminate re-work,” he said. “We brought BASF in as a consultant to develop a specialty concrete mix not used in St. Louis before to hit the (strength requirements) with less weight. BASF has worked on the majority of the tallest concrete building designs in the world.”

212 S. Meramec is a joint venture of PARIC and McHugh. Major subcontractors on the project include CECO Concrete Construction, concrete; Murphy Company, HVAC and plumbing engineer; Kaiser Electric, electrical engineer; and Fire Tech, fire protection engineer. The developer/owner is WORP/CA Clayton, LLC. Architect is HDA Architects and Alper Audi is structural engineer. Project investors include union pension funds and others.

Toenjes noted that construction is a major driver of Missouri’s economy, employing more than 116,200 persons throughout the state, with Missouri ranking 4th in the nation in one-month employment growth between July and August 2016.

In 2015, he said, Missouri construction contributed $11 billion (3.8 percent) of the state’s GDP of $293 billion. That same year, Missouri construction wages and salaries totaled $ $6.5 billion. In 2014, construction workers’ pay in Missouri averaged $54,400, 18 percent more than all private sector employees in the state. Missouri had 13,000 construction firms in 2014, of which 92 percent had fewer than 20 employees.

While celebrating what the construction industry has accomplished, Toenjes pointed to challenges ahead.  Employment has passed pre-recession figures and the industry is now facing a critical workforce shortage. “Every day we hear new reports of contractors turning down or delaying work because of the skilled worker shortage,” said Toenjes.

In the last six months, the AGC of Missouri launched a new web portal to connect contractors with unfilled jobs to people seeking work. “We never had to do that before,” he said

“When young people are contemplating a career choice, we hope they will consider construction,” he added. “Our industry can be a rewarding and challenging career choice. With new technologies, sustainable buildings, new construction methods and other innovations, we are looking to the best and brightest to join our industry. We need bodies, hands, and brains to keep building in Missouri. Come join us – there are jobs waiting!”Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail