The start of construction at Plants 3 and 4 for Southern Co.’s Vogtle nuclear power plant project boosted Georgia’s contract totals to great heights in March, with McGraw-Hill Construction reporting the state’s latest monthly total at more than $9.3 billion.

As a result, McGraw-Hill tallied Georgia’s nonbuilding category—which includes energy and infrastructure projects—ended up at nearly $8.6 billion for the month. A year ago, the nonbuilding sector recorded $123.5 million in new projects. (McGraw-Hill Construction previously reported $1.5 billion of Vogtle-related site work as starting last October.)

The other two construction categories tallied increases, too, though. Nonresidential contracts totaled nearly $378.7 million for March, or 15% ahead of the same period of a year ago. Residential work accelerated by 8%, for a $379.9-million total.

As a result of the Vogtle work, Georgia’s year-to-date total for 2012 is already nearing that of 2011. Through the first three months of the year, McGraw-Hill Construction estimates Georgia’s new contracts at roughly $10.9 billion. For all of 2011, Georgia experienced slightly more than $12.2 billion in new projects.

Despite that positive news, Georgia’s commercial building contractors are still waiting for an upturn. For the first quarter of 2012, the state’s nonresidential sector remains 10% behind 2011’s early pace, with about $986.4 million worth of projects having moved forward.

Residential is 18% ahead of last year, with about $1 billion of new contracts so far this year. The nonbuilding sector totals more than $8.9 billion to date.