Construction crews in most states continued to work on critical transportation infrastructure projects as of late March while taking necessary precautions to protect their workforces from COVID-19, according to a March 31 survey of American Road & Transportation Builders Association members.
The analysis included 225 respondents representing the association’s eight membership divisions: contractors, planning and design firms, traffic safety and equipment manufacturers, materials and services firms, public officials and university professors/researchers.
More than two-thirds reported that as of the survey period, March 23-27, they were experiencing changes or adjustments to project schedules. Nearly 75% expected some or major financial impacts on their businesses, according to the survey, conducted by ARTBA Chief Economist Alison Premo Black.
Days after the survey was conducted, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation unfroze 61 highway, bridge and tunnel projects. The projects again became active during the week of March 30-April 3, PennDOT said.
“It just points to what a fluid situation it is. All indications are that as long as work can continue safely, states will continue with bids as planned," says Black. "Some states have even accelerated schedules and started the construction season early.”
Washington State also halted any construction not deemed critical, with a reevaluation on April 6.
When ARTBA members were asked what messages they wanted to deliver to Congress and the Trump administration relating to the next coronavirus relief bill, the most common refrains were: pass a strong multiyear transportation funding bill to help the economic recovery, “keep workers working” and don’t shut down projects.
Nearly 80% of respondents said they are rotating office employees between work and home or allowing them to work remotely.