A pproximately $62.24 billion in projects started in Texas and Louisiana in 2013, up nearly 15% from $54.36 billion in 2012, according to McGraw Hill Construction Dodge. The corresponding increase in the number of jobs across both states bodes well for the region's economy in 2014.

Photo by Patrick Quigley, Gulf Coast Air Photo
Crowd Pleasers: Construction is under way on Tulane University's Yulman Stadium. The boom in stadium construction will continue in 2014.
Photo by Patrick Quigley, Gulf Coast Air Photo LLC/courtesy of PCCP Constructors, a Joint Venture
Infrastructure: An aerial view of the Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps project in New Orleans, being built by PCCP Constructors, a joint venture. This photo shows the north view of the 17th Street outfall canal. Infrastructure work like this will be widespread in 2014.

ENR Texas and Louisiana's inaugural watch list offers a snapshot of five areas where work is expected to pick up or change in the year ahead. The consensus appears to be that 2014 has the potential to be even more promising for construction than 2013.

In McGraw Hill Construction's 2014 Construction Outlook, which was released in December, total construction across the Southern states was projected to rise 8% in 2014, to $116.85 billion.

Energy/Industrial Boom

Natural gas-fueled work continues

Natural gas has been good to the Gulf Coast, and both Texas and Louisiana are reaping the benefits. As ENR noted in December, Southwest Louisiana, an area that stretches from Lake Charles to the Texas state line, is projected to be the fastest-growing section of the state, with plans for more than $46 billion in future industrial projects. These include the Sasol ethylene complex that will break ground this year, generating up to $21 billion worth of construction through 2020.

In West Texas, the shale plays are giving companies reason to invest. Engineering and construction firms are moving in to help build the systems for extracting oil. MMR Group, for instance, broke ground on its newest office in Odessa, Texas, last July.

There were an estimated $12.18 billion of industrial projects under way in Texas and Louisiana in 2012, dropping to $7 billion in 2013. But if the shale boom continues, more projects should be forthcoming this year.


Need for roads and water