Nonbuilding construction in May jumped 59 percent to $262.7 billion (annual rate). The electric power and gas plant category led the way, soaring 229 percent, which was due in large measure to the massive $9 billion LNG export terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, being included as a May start.
The huge increase for the electric power and gas plant category in May also reflected the start of several very large power plants, including two solar power facilities in California, valued at $1.0 billion and $582 million, respectively, as well as a $600 million natural gas-fired power plant in Indiana.
While the first five months of 2015 have shown a substantially higher amount of gas plant-related projects, there’s also been a greater amount of power plant projects compared to the same period a year ago.
The public works categories as a group receded 3 percent in May. Highway and bridge construction slipped 1 percent, although May did include the start of two major bridge projects – a $158 million bridge replacement in Indiana and a $146 million bridge upgrade in New Jersey.
The miscellaneous public works category, which includes such diverse project types as rail-related work and pipelines, fell 38 percent in May. The previous month had included $690 million for the start of rail-related work in the Fresno, Calif., area as part of the California high-speed rail project, and by contrast the largest miscellaneous public works construction start in May was a $67 million natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania.
The environmental public works categories all showed strong percentage gains in May. Water supply construction advanced 28 percent, aided by the start of an $84 million water treatment plant in Alabama, while river/harbor development and sewer construction showed gains of 26 percent and 23 percent, respectively.