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he following is a news release from the City of Pocatello:

Monday, March 25, crews with the City of Pocatello Water Department will begin their project on Fir Street.

Workers will be installing a new water main line, fire hydrants, and water meter boxes. Crews will work between the hours of 7 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. During the project, access to the construction area will be restricted and sections of the street will be completely closed while workers are digging. However, every effort will be made to provide local access to the area when possible. Parking will also be restricted in the construction zone and residents are asked to park all vehicles away from the area during the day. At the close of each day, access will be restored to all properties. 

 

The work may cause short-term disruptions to water service. Individuals in and around the construction zone are encouraged to keep a supply of drinking water available.

Officials ask parents and guardians to warn children about the safety hazard and to have them stay a safe distance from the construction area.

The project is anticipated to take three weeks to complete but due to unforeseen circumstances, the work schedule may change.

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he following is a news release from the City of Pocatello:

Monday, March 25, crews with the City of Pocatello Water Department will begin their project on Fir Street.

Workers will be installing a new water main line, fire hydrants, and water meter boxes. Crews will work between the hours of 7 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. During the project, access to the construction area will be restricted and sections of the street will be completely closed while workers are digging. However, every effort will be made to provide local access to the area when possible. Parking will also be restricted in the construction zone and residents are asked to park all vehicles away from the area during the day. At the close of each day, access will be restored to all properties. 

 

The work may cause short-term disruptions to water service. Individuals in and around the construction zone are encouraged to keep a supply of drinking water available.

Officials ask parents and guardians to warn children about the safety hazard and to have them stay a safe distance from the construction area.

The project is anticipated to take three weeks to complete but due to unforeseen circumstances, the work schedule may change.

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"Significant progress" during 2018 with the construction of Vogtle 3 and 4 means Southern Company expects the two AP1000 units to be completed on schedule and to budget, the company said during its fourth quarter results call.

Construction work at Vogtle (Image: Georgia Power)

Construction of Vogtle unit 3 began in March 2013 and unit 4 in November the same year. Southern Nuclear and Georgia Power, both subsidiaries of Southern Company, took over management of the construction project in 2017 following Westinghouse's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"2018 was a year of incredible accomplishments for Southern Company," said President and CEO Thomas Fanning. "We entered the year with a great deal of uncertainty regarding corporate tax reform and our own first full year as general contractor at Vogtle 3 and 4."

He noted that last July the company revised its "estimated costs to complete and recalibrated site production expectations with a site-wide reset". Since then, he said, Southern Company has "achieved a trajectory of staffing and productive hours worked per week that is ahead of what we targeted on our last earnings call". He added, "We continue to have a lot of work ahead of us to sustain this performance but we are pleased with our progress and are confident that we can meet the schedule approved by our regulators."

Fanning said Southern Company had achieved its "major 2018 construction milestones". The Vogtle 3 and 4 project is now about 74% complete, he announced.

"During the past three months several significant milestones were achieved," Fanning said. "Unit 3 milestones included setting the first reactor cooling pump, placement of the third and final containment ring and setting the main control room roof. At unit 4, we set the pressuriser and second steam generator inside the containment vessel. Additionally, since our third quarter call, the remaining two AP1000 units in China - Sanmen 2 and Haiyang 2 - achieved commercial operation. Lessons learned from China will continue to benefit our project."

Fanning noted that Southern Company had said in November it was targeting to ramp up to 140,000 productive hours of work per week by March. "So far, for the month of February, we have averaged 141,000 earned hours per week. In fact, last week, we achieved 146,000 hours. We are focused on sustaining this progress throughout 2019 and into spring of 2020.

"We currently estimate that we need to sustain approximately 110,000 weekly earned hours in order to meet the November 2021 and November 2022 regulatory-approved schedule," Fanning said.

He noted the company is working on a schedule to complete the units by April 2021 and April 2022, respectively, in order to gain margin on the November schedule.

"We are currently in the midst of re-baselining our work for Vogtle units 3 and 4," he said. "This re-baselining effort will refine the weekly work plan for the remainder of the project. Our over-arching objective in the re-baselining effort is to maintain the aggressive work plan at the site allowing us to preserve as much margin in our schedule as possible to the November 2021 and November 2022 regulatory-approved in-service dates. While it's important to acknowledge this re-baselining effort is not complete, we continue to expect that project schedule and capital cost forecast will be consistent with our prior estimates. And, based on early indications, we also expect a reduction in the amount of remaining productive hours needed to complete the project.

"Everything we see right now, as of today, says cost and schedule are preserved and we expect to have to spend less hours to complete the project than what is currently in our budget." He said Southern Company foresees a reduction of around 600,000 hours.

Georgia Power is expected to submit a report on the re-baselining with the Georgia Public Service Commission no later than 15 May.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

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China's Ministry of Environment is proceeding with environmental impact assessment for a project to build an ACP100 small modular reactor (SMR) at Changjiang, Hainan, with construction to begin by the end of this year.

Potential applications of the ACP100 (Image: CNNC)

According to Chinese publication Nuclear World, first concrete is to be poured on 31 December. Construction is expected to take 65 months, with the 125 MWe unit expected to start up by 31 May 2025, subject to relevant governmental approvals.

The ACP100 was identified as a 'key project' in China's 12th Five-Year Plan, and is developed from the larger ACP1000 pressurised water reactor (PWR). The design, which has 57 fuel assemblies and integral steam generators, incorporates passive safety features and will be installed underground. China in 2016 announced plans to build a demonstration floating nuclear power plant based on the ACP100S variant of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) design.

A two-unit demonstration plant was originally planned for construction by CNNC New Energy Corporation, a joint venture of CNNC (51%) and China Guodian Corp in Putian county, at the south of Fujian province. In early 2017, the site for the first ACP100 units was changed to Changjiang, on Hainan island, with a larger reactor to be built at Putian.

The ACP100 plant will be located on the northwest side of the existing Changjiang nuclear power plant, according to the 22 March announcement. The site is already home to two operating CNP600 PWRs, with two Hualong One units also planned for construction.
 

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

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We get it. Dallas is a growing city. Improvements and maintenance are part of the deal. What we can’t abide, though, is the chaos of construction projects.

Downtown has become an urban maze of closed streets and sidewalks, odd detours and makeshift crosswalks that befuddle drivers and pedestrians. Whoever first coined the expression, “you can’t get there from here”  must have had the central business district in mind.

Joking aside, city and private construction crews haven’t done a very good job of making repairs and improvements without excessively interrupting everyday commerce. City code requires contractors to maintain accessible walkways or pedestrian detours during construction. Too many contractors fail to do this, and after they have completed the job, fail to remove traffic barricades in a timely fashion. In truly byzantine fashion, detours from one project can end up detouring into other projects.  

Between August and mid-March, city public works officials issued 314 citations to contractors for violations committed while working in the right-of-way. The most common violations  involve an improperly closed-off street or sidewalk, and have become so prevalent that city staff is considering asking the city council to hike fines, which generally cap at $500 per violation, per day, for repeat offenders.

What might be more effective on city contracts is to hold a contractor’s record of bad behavior against them during their future bids. And in the case of private construction projects, the city could do a better job of outing code violators to the companies that hire them in the hope that gets action from the folks who are paying the bill.              

There is no easy way to rebuild in a crowded urban area without causing some inconvenience.  This year, parts of about 20 streets in the central business district are either under repair or set to be repaired, meaning the chaos isn’t likely to let up anytime soon.          

We do know that if a contractor working on our house blocked all doors, forcing us to climb in through a window, or failed to clean up their mess, we would be outraged. We certainly wouldn’t call them again to bid on the kitchen remodel.    

No one likes the hassle of construction. But if you’re going to block a street or sidewalk, be quick about it and have an eye on keeping us all moving.

This editorial was written by the editorial board and serves as the voice and opinion of The Dallas Morning News.

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Aracelis Rivera, a retired teacher from New York City, fell in love with a newly remodeled row house on Lancaster’s West Vine Street and quickly made an offer.

Rivera was drawn to the shiny floors, the kitchen cabinetry and the dining room spotlights.

What Rivera didn’t know was the win-win nature of the property’s backstory, how a job-training crew transformed it from a condemned eyesore to a neighborhood gem that she would buy for $140,250.

The community-improvement initiative, known as CAPital Construction, has a dual mission. One is to train workers who have employment barriers, such as a criminal record. The other is to attack blight.

Program’s origin

Community Action Partnership created CAPital Construction, now in its third year, as a response to needs identified in “One Good Job,” the 2016 report of a mayoral commission on poverty.

In partnering with other housing entities that work to improve housing stock, CAPital Construction now employs eight workers, including some who have been with it since the beginning.

In addition, CAPital Construction will soon start a pre-apprenticeship program to prepare workers for the construction industry. The goal is to train 34 workers over two years. They’ll earn about $10 an hour during eight to 12 weeks of training, during which they will make facade improvements to houses and businesses.

Collaborative effort

Rivera’s new home at 620 W. Vine St. is one of four in Lancaster’s southwest quadrant — dubbed SoWe — that CAPital Construction has rehabilitated for sale to first-time homebuyers. A fifth, in Columbia, is expected to hit the market as early as May.

Meanwhile, three other properties are being readied for sale, and six rentals have been upgraded.

CAPital Construction contracts with organizations — including Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership, Lancaster Equity and the county redevelopment authority — that acquire condemned properties for rehabilitation.

“I’ve learned a lot,” said Kevin Polite, 36, a father of four with a criminal record who has been with CAPital Construction since its beginnings in November 2017.

Under the guidance of experienced carpenters, Polite has practiced such skills as framing, drywalling, tiling, flooring and lead abatement.

“I like it all,” said Polite, who earns $12 an hour and receives a comprehensive benefit package. “The pay is not great, but it allows you to be stable while you’re learning. And there’s the consistency of doing the work every day.”

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A construction worker has been airlifted to the hospital after falling down an elevator shaft at a high-rise condo building in Belleair, according to officials.

The Largo Fire Department tells ABC Action News that the construction worker fell to the third floor. Crews located the worker and conducted a technical rescue.

The high-rise condo is located at 25 Belleview Boulevard in Belleair.

The condition of the construction worker has not been released.

Story developing, refresh for updates. Stay with ABC Action News for updates.

 

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A boater travels in front of Isabella Lake's main dam in this Californian file photo.

The dam is getting fixed.

Construction on Isabella Lake Dam, which has lingered in the study, planning and environmental process for more than a decade, will begin this winter.

On Monday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a $204 million contract with a collection of Bay Area construction companies to build a new emergency spillway, modify the existing spillway, raise the height of the dam by 16 feet and adapt surrounding roads and recreation facilities to accommodate the remade dam.

 

The contract with a trio of contractors — Flatiron, Dragados and Sukut — includes the option to modify the auxiliary dam as well, bringing the total cost of the work up to $241.75 million, according to a press release from the Corps of Engineers.

The five-year construction process will begin this winter and finish in 2022, the press release stated.

Tyler Stalker, spokesman for the Corps of Engineers, said a notice to proceed is expected to be issued to the contractors at the end of October and people will begin seeing heavy equipment on-site by November.

The contractors will have to set the stage for the work and implement their traffic control plans, site plans and environmental compliance plans before construction launches.

Work is expected to take 42 months to complete and will start with a $81.5 million allocation in this fiscal year, Stalker said.

The rest of the money for construction will be funded annually through the Corps’ portion of the federal budget.

THE THREAT

Concerns about the safety of the Isabella Lake Dam began to rise in 2006 when serious seepage was discovered in the earthen dam.

Scientists also learned that the Kern River Fault, which runs along a ridge between the main and auxiliary dams, was active. It had previously been thought to be a dead fault.

A major earthquake on the obscure fault while the dam was full could spell disaster.

The risk of a catastrophic failure of the dam has always been extremely remote, according to the Corps.

But Lake Isabella Dam was ranked as the most dangerous in the nation because of the dramatic damage it could do if the dam failed when it was full of water.

The Kern River canyon would quickly channel a wall of water down through the town of Lake Isabella and into Bakersfield.

Computer models show that most of Bakersfield would be flooded within hours if that happened and some areas could be covered in between 10 and 20 feet of water.

To mitigate the risk to Bakersfield, the Corps of Engineers imposed a restriction on the amount of water that can be stored in Isabella Lake.

 

Kern River Watermaster Dana Munn said those restrictions have, this year, made it difficult to bring in cheap water from other parts of the state to help Kern County recover from years of drought.

Water recharge areas in the San Joaquin Valley had to be used to store Kern River water rather than storing that water in Isabella Lake and buying Friant-Kern Canal water, for example, on the cheap.

But the restrictions were an important precaution to keep people safe.

Other precautions were put in place by Kern County emergency agencies.

They developed an aggressive notification plan and evacuation model for metro Bakersfield and installed dam sirens around the small communities clustered near the dam to alert residents to flee for higher ground.

THE LAST DECADE

In the past decade, the Corps worked to plan an exhaustive study of Isabella Lake Dam and developed a unique series of solutions that — when built — will eliminate the threat of a dam failure and allow Isabella Lake to be filled again.

Those solutions include an impressive accordion-shaped labyrinth weir on the main spillway that was tested with a scale model at the Utah Water Research Lab at Utah State University.

Stalker said the design is important for Isabella Lake Dam because it requires less excavation and earthwork and it handles large volumes of water well in a smaller amount of space.

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MINOT, N.D. - Friday night's propane explosions at the construction site of Minot's future hospital are still the talk of the town. No one was hurt, but now the investigation begins as to what happened, and what this means for the future of the hospital.

It comes a day after a worker was injured on site, prompting OSHA to investigate. The scene on Minot's southwest side looks nothing like it did Friday night. State and local fire inspectors are on scene investigating. Meanwhile, fire crews have been monitoring the site as small fires burn themselves out.

The explosions caused temporary evacuations of nearby apartments. Residents were let back in around 10 p.m. Friday.

Friday night's explosions sent large plumes of fire and smoke into the air. The booms could be heard from all parts of town.

“The first initial one, my girlfriend, I heard it on the phone, it was very, very loud, very disruptive, and as we were pulling up, and as we were pulling up on the intersection over here, the second explosion happened, and that one was, from hindsight, I'd say, almost the size of the crane,” said Tyler Kolobakken, a nearby resident who was evacuated.

 

Work at the site had been halted, that's because OSHA was investigating an injury to a worker who fell down an elevator shaft just a day before. The man is said to be in stable condition.

For context, this is a 970,000-square-foot medical campus in the works, to the tune of $350 million. Trinity has plans to move into these state-of-the-art facilities in 2021.

Right now it's still unclear whether there is any damage to what is built so far. We should have more information on that when the site inspection is complete.

Authorities have since re-opened 37th Avenue SW to through traffic.

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CEREDO — The year 2018 was one of the most successful for Huntington Tri-State Airport (HTS), which is now looking to build off that momentum in 2019.

In the past year, a number of improvement projects began and are expected to be completed within the coming year. In addition to cosmetic and safety improvements, the airport is also aggressively pursuing new destinations to offer customers in an effort to make traveling easier for area residents and to provide options similar to Yeager Airport in Charleston, located 63 miles east of HTS.

Allegiant Air - one of two commercial airlines offering service to a from HTS - this year announced the addition of a fifth destination for customers.

 

The airline announced mid-February that it will offer twice-weekly nonstop service from Huntington Tri-State Airport to the Florida Panhandle via Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport beginning June 6. Flights to and from the new destination will be on Sundays and Thursdays.

With the addition of this new route to a region that is called the Emerald Coast, Allegiant will now serve five cities from Huntington Tri-State Airport.

Huntington Tri-State Airport Director Brent Brown said he would continue to pursue a new direct route to Chicago after American Airlines declined to support one.

Brown, speaking at a Huntington Tri-State Airport Authority meeting in February, said he had been working with an airline consulting firm to secure a letter of support for nonstop flights to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Currently, American Airlines offers connecting flights to Chicago.

"At this time they don't want to offer a letter of support," Brown said. "If we were to get a new route, specifically Chicago, it will be several years out."

The ultimate goal is to allow for easier west-bound travel from Huntington Tri-State. Currently, all connecting flights are further east than the airports location, with heavy travel coming to and from Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. A destination like Chicago would eliminate backtracking and allow travelers a stop en route to final destinations in the Midwest and western regions of the country.

"It just allows our community to expand both incoming and outgoing. Being so close to Charleston, it allows people to compare prices. adding more routes give our customers more options to factor in to their decision on where to fly from."

Brown said airport records indicated HTS saw greater than 100,000 deplanements in 2018 - a number that factors in to the allowance of additional destinations, regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"Airlines are able to use those numbers and figure out if a new route makes sense. What happens is, when they add a new route, they would pull an existing route to include us in their roster."

President and CEO of the Huntington Area Development Council (HADCO) David Lieving said the success of HTS has a direct impact on the local economy as well as future industry growth in parts of Wayne County and other surrounding areas.

"The airport has really improved, and its an important part of the economy here in this area. When we talk to international companies, they want to know where the closest international airport is located and how options on how to get from there to here," Lieving said. "We are a regional airport to Kentucky, Southeast Ohio, as well as part of West Virginia. We have to have good air service in order for us to grow economically."

Two major ongoing airports projects are expected to be completed by the end of summer 2019.

In May 2018, construction began on a dual elevator and covered stairwell with the goal of making the airport's entrance more accessible to travelers parked in the main long-term parking lot.

The $1.2 million project was originally expected to be completed in August or September of 2018, but according to Brown, construction was slow moving over the fall and winter months due to weather restraints, citing the significant amount of rain in the region has delayed progress.

Still, the dual elevator and stairwell is expected to be completed and in operation by late May or early June 2019. Construction plans now include an extension of the canopy in front of the airport that will connect with the new structure, which was not included in the original plans for construction.

"When we started the project, it was just an elevator. Now we've gone in and added a canopy that will extend from the existing canopy in front of the building and connect to the elevator building. Not only will it be a little more aesthetically pleasing but also will add some needed coverage to protect travelers from any foul weather or even the heat in summer months," Brown said.

The Taxiway Alpha Relocation Project, is also projected to be complete by the end of summer.

Brown said the relocation of the taxiway running parallel to the main terminal came about after administration learned the current location did not meet FAA safety requirements.

"We are reconstructing and relocating our current taxiway Alpha East," Brown said. "We are moving that taxiway 75 feet to the north, further away from the runway, which will give us the appropriate distance from the taxiway to the runway."

 

Work began in April 2017 and was initially planned to be completed in September 2018, but the timeline was also delayed by weather.

At a cost of $13 million, FAA grant money is being used to fund the project, as well as some assistance from state government.

Luke Creasy is a reporter for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @HDcreasy.

About Huntington Tri-State Airport

SERVICES: Huntington Tri-State Airport handles commercial airline, air cargo, military and general aviation traffic.

LOCATION: Tri-State Airport is located approximately 9 miles west of Huntington in Wayne County.

DESTINATIONS: HTS has two major airlines serving five non-stop destinations, including: Charlotte, Orlando, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, and Myrtle Beach. General Aviation services are provided by the Huntington Jet Center (FBO).

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Mike clower,executive director of the  contractors association of virginia

It's not very often that a state can go from last to first in any category without first undergoing years of struggle and clawing its way to the top; however, this is exactly what West Virginia did when it created an astounding number of construction jobs in 2017.

From January to December of 2017, construction jobs in West Virginia jumped by 4,300, an increase of more than 14 percent, making it the highest growth in the country, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of U.S Department of Labor.

Experts in this field point to the state's "Roads to Prosperity" bond referendum, as well as the advancement of several pipeline projects in the northern part of West Virginia as the reason for this growth.

 

In the oil and gas industry alone, employment has continued to rise, more than tripling over the first three quarter of 2018, rising from 4,276 to 14,476, according to data from the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

Prior to 2017, the number of jobs in the oil and gas industry in West Virginia hovered at or under 3,000.

While these two industries have picked up momentum due to ongoing projects, eventually those projects will be finished, begging the question of whether or not West Virginia will slip back down to the bottom of the pack once again.

Many with a stake in the construction business are working to ensure this momentum does not fade by pushing for investments in infrastructure to entice existing businesses to grow as well as new businesses to relocate to the Mountain State, while also encouraging more training in the construction field to school-age children in order to build a large workforce, which is already needed.

One of those individuals striking for this is Mike Clowser, the executive director of the Contractors Association of West Virginia, which serves the interest of contractors who perform commercial building, utility, industrial, highway and heavy construction throughout the state of West Virginia.

In February, The Herald-Dispatch spoke with Clowser about his thoughts on West Virginia construction industry, specifically where it's been, where it's going and how will it benefit those chose to call the state home.

Q: How did West Virginia go from being at the very bottom of the pack in construction employment to leading the country in construction employment growth?

A: West Virginia from 2011 to about 2014, out of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C, was ranking about 50th in the country in construction job growth. A couple of times we were 51st.

This is because West Virginia construction employment for a number of years was very lagging.

But then between January and December of 2017 construction jobs grew by 4,300, a growth rate of more than 14 percent, which made us the highest percentage of job growth in the country for 2017.

Here we were being national ranked 50th and 51st for a number of years and in 2017 we had the largest percentage of construction growth in the country taking us to number one.

A large part of that turnaround can be attributed to the construction activity from Gov. Jim Justice's road building campaign, including the "Roads to Prosperity" bond amendment and the West Virginia Legislature increasing funding for the West Virginia Division of Highways, which all happened in 2017.

What we saw was once funding was available and once the Division of Highways started getting projects out, not only did you see construction employment rising in the state, but we saw a number of other areas that supplied the construction industry - steel, aggregate, asphalt suppliers - we saw those people hiring.

We also saw engineering firms hiring additional people to design the projects, so with the highway funding bill plus the Roads to Prosperity bond amendment, we are seeing more construction employment in the state.

Another factor leading to West Virginia's number one ranking is the multiple natural gas line projects underway in the state. We have many contractors and subcontractors from supply firms that are working in the oil and gas industry designing and constructing well pads, retention ponds, access roads, water lines, everything associated with putting in a pipeline.

Also what we've seen is for the first time in a long time, our contractors are going back to work in the coal mines. A lot of our members routinely work at coal companies doing mine face ups, working on haul roads and other construction related activities.

The state also approved an $80 million bond package for improvements at state parks and recreation facilities around the state.

Q: Is this growth in construction jobs evenly disbursed throughout the state or is it clustered in certain areas?

A: We are seeing pretty much a dichotomy between the northern part and the southern part of West Virginia.

We have a lot of members north of Charleston, in Clarksburg, Morgantown, Wheeling and in the Eastern Panhandle section of the state, that have a lot of work going on. They are actually looking for employees.

But when you're looking at Charleston and going south into Mercer County and McDowell County, there is not a lot of construction activity going on in that part of the state that we see right now.

You have oil and gas construction in the northern part of the state, then there is a lot of work at West Virginian University, there is development going on in Clarksburg, Procter & Gamble in the eastern part of the state - you've got a lot more development activity there than what is going on in the southern part of the state.

The question that we have as CAWV is what can we do to jump start economic development and job creation on all parts of West Virginia?

A few things we looked at within our association is developing infrastructure. You have to have a safe and modern road system in order to get companies wanting to come into the area.

You have to have modern water and sewer facilities that not only let existing companies expand because if your water or sewer system isn't up to speed you can't add capacity.

Companies who are moving in also want a modern school system, so you need to look at those counties that need to upgrade their middle schools and high schools to make sure that the students there have safe and modern school facilities to go to.

We have historically looked at the state continually investing in its infrastructure for economic development and for jobs. What we have seen with the road bond amendment and the highway funding bill, we are seeing more employment, which is obvious from the number you're looking at.

There is a direct correlation between investing in infrastructure and job growth in the state of West Virginia.

One of largest increase of construction jobs (in the nation) was in the Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va. OH Metropolitan Statistical Area (which includes West Virginia's northern panhandle along with Ohio). It ranks third in the nation with a 21 percent increase in construction jobs from October 2017 to October 2018.

Out of 358 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (in the nation), the Huntington-Ashland MSA ranks 257. From December 2017 to December 2018, 100 construction jobs were added in the Huntington-Ashland MSA, (going from 7,700 construction jobs to 7,800).

There are a few things in Huntington that are beneficial. The retail construction going on there, we were also seeing some hospital expansion and road construction on (Interstate) 64. Marshall University is also doing new construction. Having Marshall down there is obviously a catalyst for that area. This is why it's been a little different from the southern West Virginia downturn.

Charleston is among the worst, ranking 354 in its MSA. From December 2017 to December 2018, it went from 7,100 construction jobs to 6,700.

Q: With the construction industry growing in recent years, what is the CAWV doing to entice more individuals to choose construction as a career option?

A: Workforce development, that is our number one objective for the CAWV for this year is getting more qualified people into construction in the state of West Virginia.

A lot of our members in the northern panhandle, their issue is finding qualified workers. Our board of directors, hearing the concerns our members have, voted to make workforce development our number one priority for the year.

We have made great strides since we started this back in November. We have been meeting with Steve Paine (West Virginia's Superintendent of Schools) and his staff. We were also invited to participate in the annual meeting of their vocational teachers at Morgantown.

The governor has proposed "Jim's Dream," which is his plan to bring at-risk individuals that may or may not have addiction problems, but to be able to take those types of people and put them in a training program and make them viable applicants for not only construction but manufacturing and coal.

He has proposed that at the Legislature and has directed Maj. Gen. James Hoyer (adjutant general of the state's National Guard) to get that program up and running and we have been working with Hoyer and his staff to see what construction curriculum needs to be in place.

We are very excited about that opportunity and looking forward to working with the governor and his team and see if we can put a lot of West Virginians to work in high-paying construction jobs.

Q: From my experience covering education, there seems to be a stigma associated with jobs such as these. Many feel that in order to have a successful career you have to attend a four-year college. How are you working to overcome these stigmas and show parents and students that there are alternative options that can yield just as successful a result?

A: That is probably one of the top issues that our workforce development taskforce is putting on the agenda.

Probably a lot of the counselors promote college prep or college entrance courses when a lot of these kids probably don't want to go to college or do not need to go to college or would have a great career making a lot of money and also have no debt when they walk out of school if we can train them.

That was one of the discussions we had with the vo-tech directors around the state.

How can we reach those students and show that construction is not working in a ditch with a shovel, it's working with technology and machines or working with design.

One of the key issues that out workforce development task force is charged with is how do we promote not only to the kids but to the parents, to let the parents know that their kids don't want to spend four years in college and four years racking up debt for a job that they may not want to do or will pay enough to pay off their college debt.

Q: What is the role of the Contractors Association of West Virginia in helping to aid the construction industry in West Virginia?

A: We are over 90 years old and we represent building contractors, water and sewer contractors, highway and bridge contractors - our members do industrial work, airports, hospitals and school office building and so forth. We like to think that (our members) build West Virginia.

If you look at the infrastructure in the state, if we did not have roads, if we did not have bridges, if we did not have water and sewer, obviously the quality of life would be much different in West Virginia.

Our members are the ones that go out and hire the individuals who go out every day, put those boots on and go out and build these projects.

What we try to do as the CAWV is to be the voice of construction, to advance our issue that we must invest in infrastructure in order to create jobs and economic development.

We do that by working with the governor and his administration and working with the Legislature. We try to promote the fact that there will not be businesses moving in or jobs created until we build the necessary infrastructure that allows those companies to come in and flourish and to grow and be able to locate here.

We represent individual companies, and our roughly 450 members probably employ over 20,000 West Virginians throughout the state.

If there is something that is affecting the construction industry, our members are the first to know and most importantly our members are at the table on those issues affecting their companies, whether it's their ability to work or to compete or how they perform their work.

Any federal or state agency that puts out construction projects, we have a joint committee with them to where we talk about specifications and technical issues, methods of constructions - all of those discussions are centered around how can we build a better product at a lesser price for the taxpayers who ultimately fund these projects.

I think our members appreciate the fact that we're at the table participating in those discussions that foster and benefit the construction industry and ultimately we think it benefits the taxpayers of West Virginia with coming up with better and cheaper ways to build roads and bridges, schools, and water and sewer systems.

Q: Construction jobs in West Virginia have continued to grow over the past few years, but what is the likelihood that the state can sustain this growth?

A: That gets back to the purpose of the CAWV. We have historically promoted investing in infrastructure as a way to create jobs and as a way to create economic development in that state of West Virginia and we're going to continue to do that.

I think after this road program and after the oil and gas pipeline - obviously once those projects are done the question is how do you sustain that?

But one of the purposes of doing the Roads to Prosperity projects is to create more economic development opportunities for the state.

If we continue to promote good schools and money for upgrading our schools, if we continue promoting infrastructure development for companies to have a readily available site to come in and build and move into - as long as we keep investing in infrastructure, West Virginia will continue to grow, will continue to create jobs which will continue to be in construction to build and maintains those.

We think that there is always going to be a need for good qualified individuals moving into the construction industry.

I've always joked but I firmly believe it, the road to progress is always under construction and as long as we are doing construction in the state of West Virginia, we are going to continue to progress here.

 

 

 

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