Industry News: Power Upgrades Sought; Conn.'s DB Law; TZB Team Watch; Union Rally; GC Cited
Bottlenecks in New York state's power system cost consumers $1.1 billion in 2010, according to a study by an electric utility group that is pushing for transmission line upgrades or replacement.
About 41% of the state's 11,600 miles of high-voltage transmission lines are so old that they will need to be replaced during the next 30 years at a cost of more than $25 billion, according to the State Transmission Assessment and Reliability Study (STARS), which also outlines several possible fixes to the system. The second phase of a long-term NYS transmission system assessment, the study identifies another $2.5 billion worth of incremental upgrades to existing lines and construction of new lines. Recommendations include new projects to increase transfer limits on lines that would be located in existing rights-of-way or with minor expansion of existing rights-of-way.
The study was funded by the state's interconnected bulk power system owners: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc./Orange & Rockland Utilities Inc., Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, New York Power Authority as well as New York State Electric and Gas Corp./Rochester Gas & Electric Corp.
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State Gives the Green Light to Design-Build Law
The Connecticut General Assembly has passed legislation to give the Conn. Dept. of Transportation the option of using design-build (DB) as an alternative project delivery method and allowing municipalities the option of using project labor agreements (PLAs) on public projects. At press time, the legislation was awaiting Gov. Dannel Malloy's (D) signature to become law.
The governor supports the DB legislation, which he says makes Connecticut "more competitive in the quest for federal money" and will allow the state to make "long overdue investments" in infrastructure. Malloy also supports the PLA amendment to the legislation, which was a temporary sticking point for some state legislators.
The PLA measure comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision in favor of a contractor who challenged a PLA requirement last year on two school construction projects in Hartford. The contractor, Electrical Contractors Inc., Hartford, which was the lowest bidder on the work, argued that its bid was rejected after it refused to sign the PLA. The case sparked debate among state lawmakers and union and nonunion industry players.
The amendment also gives municipalities the option of using PLAs on school projects with contract values greater than $10 million.
Tappan Zee Team To Be Chosen This Summer
The desIgn-build team for the $5.2-billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project will be chosen this summer, Thomas Madison, executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority, said last month. Transportation officials hope that the selected team, which will be chosen from four that were shortlisted on Feb. 7, will start construction by year-end, said Madison, who spoke at a lecture sponsored by the Moles on May 2.
Other upcoming deadlines include completion in August of an extensive environmental review that was issued concurrently with the RFP for design and construction.
Plans call for the new bridge, which will be owned and operated by the Thruway Authority, to be built adjacent to the existing 56-year-old bridge, which was designed to last only 50 years, Madison said.
Union Rallies Against Harbor Point Developer
The Connecticut Laborers' District Council says it has begun a campaign against the owner-developer of a $3.5-billion, mixed-use project in Stamford, Conn., for hiring an out-of-state subcontractor. Owner-developer Building and Land Technology Inc. (BLT) hired subcontractor Baker Concrete, Monroe, Ohio, to work on its 6-million-sq-ft Harbor Point project. BLT did not return calls for comment.
The union wants BLT co-owners Carl and Paul Kuehner to only hire union workers, says Charles LeConche, business manager of the district council.
GC Cited for Violations After Worker Fatality
the dept. of buildings issued stop work orders last month at a Manhattan apartment building after a construction worker fell to his death, and it has cited the general contractor for violations. The worker, Adrien Zamora, apparently lost his footing and fell from scaffolding while doing facade work at 450 Broome St. in SoHo, DOB says.
The violations issued May 18th to Brasal Construction Corp., New York, include "failure to protect all persons and parties affected by construction operations" and "building the scaffolding contrary to approved plans," a DOB spokeswoman says.
Construction Spending Tumbles
The new York Building Congress projects that New York City construction spending will reach $28.8 billion by year-end but fall to $25.1 billion in 2013. NYBC's analysis is an update of its annual construction outlook report.
Government construction spending accounted for 53% of all construction spending in the five boroughs last year, the study shows. That put this sector's spending at $14.4 billion in 2011, down 10% from 2010. NYBC predicts government construction spending will decline further, to $12.7 billion in 2012 and $9.69 billion in 2013—a 40% decline from 2010.
The residential sector, however, is making a dramatic comeback, the study shows. After bottoming out at $2.3 billion in 2010, residential construction spending increased to $2.9 billion in 2011 and is expected to climb to $4.8 billion in 2012. The forecast is based on a preliminary review of recent residential permitting data.