An $8.5-billion nuclear powerplant project in Jenkinsville greatly boosted South Carolina’s April construction contracts total to nearly $9.4 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. By comparison, the monthly figure beat the state’s entire total for 2011, which had been estimated at $7.8 billion. (McGraw-Hill reports the full value of new contracts at the start of construction.)

Other infrastructure projects added more than $200 million to the nonbuilding category's total, for a final April tally of more than $8.7 billion.

But the other construction categories increased notably as well during April. The value of new nonresidential contracts jumped by 30% compared to the same period of a year ago, delivering nearly $263.2 million in new work to contractors. New residential contracts totaled nearly $349.3 million, or 16% better than a year ago.

On a year-to-date basis through April, McGraw-Hill Construction estimates new South Carolina contracts at $10.9 billion.

Aside from the new nuclear project, the state’s nonbuilding market has been in a slump so far this year. For the first quarter, McGraw-Hill had estimated this market had delivered just $186.5 million in new contracts through the first three months of the year, or 51% lower than 2011’s early pace. Now, with the new nuclear contract, this category totals more than $8.9 billion.

For South Carolina’s building markets, 2012 is a mix of ups and downs so far. Through April, the nonresidential market is 32% behind 2011’s pace, with about $712.1 million in new work having moved forward so far this year. The residential sector is 27% ahead of a year ago, however, with a total of more than $1.3 billion in new contracts.

Overall, South Carolina’s total for the first four months is now more than $10.9 billion, well ahead of 2011’s estimated $2.5-billion covering the same period.