What are the construction industry’s major takeaways from 2016? Surely one of the most memorable will be Donald Trump defying the pollsters and winning the U.S. presidential election with promises of huge infrastructure programs and regulatory reform. Readers came by the thousands to ENR’s stories that explore what the coming Trump administration may mean for the construction industry. As always, ENR readers also were tuned into stories about safety.
Two stories that got a lot of attention were about major crane collapses in the New York City area. The first was a crawler-crane collapse in Lower Manhattan in February, when a crane boom crashed to the street as the operator tried to lower it during a snowstorm, killing a pedestrian and injuring three others. The second was the collapse of a mobile-crane boom in July across the decks of both new and existing bridges during pile-driving at the new Tappan Zee Bridge. No one was seriously injured. A third safety story that drew a great deal of attention was ENR’s investigation into the circumstances that led to the tragic drowning of a veteran ironworker after a boom lift tumbled off a barge intro frigid water during construction of a pedestrian bridge.
ENR’s technology coverage also drew much interest among our readers. The top tech story of the year explored how virtual-reality tools, based on video games, are taking construction project models to new levels of immersion. Another avidly read article investigated the burst of innovation that tech experts are forecasting as industry firms move data and processes to the cloud. Data patterns are emerging that could bring advances in software, designs, project management, supply chains and safety.
Of course, there were many other well-read stories of the year, from the water crisis in Flint, Mich., to ENR's series of top-ranked firms to major acquisitions of the year and the contractor shakeup at the Vogtle nuclear powerplant. In this issue, ENR editors review the year—market by market and region by region—and share their ideas about the trends that will shape 2017.