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Rising costs could limit West Virginia's $2.8B Roads to Prosperity program
West Virginia Transportation Secretary Tom Smith told those gathered for a news conference last week that the $2.8 billion state Roads to Prosperity initiative could be limited by an 8.8% increase in construction costs, according to the  Charleston Gazette-Mail .
Bids for the first project of the program, which came in approximately $100 million higher than state estimates, highlighted the new cost reality, although officials expected some upward movement in prices due to design changes. West Virginia House Minority Leader, Democrat Tim Miley, has suggested that inflation may limit the number of Roads to Prosperity projects and brought up the possibility that the Gov. Jim Justice administration intentionally low-balled project costs to make it appear as though the program could deliver more projects. Smith would not say whether any projects would be canceled but did say that the state would "adapt the budget and act accordingly" if costs continue to increase. Read More...
Wheeling Unveils Public Safety Building Plans
A proposed public safety building for downtown Wheeling could cost a city homeowner an extra $105 each year on average, according to City Manager Robert Herron.
“But that’s up to council,”  he told council members Tuesday night.
Council had their first reading Tuesday of an ordinance that would put a levy on the Nov. 6 general election ballot to fund construction of a $20 million public safety building. The structure would be on Market Street across from the Market Street plaza. Read More...
Rocky Roads: Regional Economics and Labor Shortage Impact Highway Contractors
The crystal ball is hazier than ever these days, so economists can do little more than predict modest increases in highway spending during the next one to two fiscal years. For one thing, Congress hasn’t even considered deliberating President Trump’s proposed $1.5 trillion infrastructure spending program, unveiled this spring to a typical mix of optimism and doubt.  Read More...
Seven Misconceptions of Project Collaboration
Project collaboration refers to both interpersonal relationships and the use of technology to provide real-time access to documentation and workflows. True collaboration makes projects more transparent and provides the team with information necessary to evaluate risk, facilitate timely decision-making, update and track communication, and store project documents. 
Following are seven common misconceptions about project collaboration, along with suggestions for improving the likelihood of achieving it. Read More...
Construction Labor Shortage Creates Increasingly Lucrative Career Paths
College isn’t for everyone and there are strong reasons to support students who decide to opt out of the college track and get jobs in the trades.
2017 study  from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found between 1991-2015: “Good jobs in non-manufacturing blue-collar industries, such as construction and transportation, increased in 38 states.  Read More...
WVU Medicine CEO sees border region as ripe for expansion
The CEO of  WVU Medicine  said southwestern Pennsylvania is a natural expansion market for the fast-growing health system, and it's already making inroads into the region, which will be served with a new $15 million primary and specialty care clinic that will open in Waynesburg by the end of next year. Read More...
Construction Employment Reaches 10-Year High as Industry Adds 19,000 Jobs in July and 303,000 for the year; Industry Unemployment Sets Record Low  
Construction employment increased by 19,000 jobs in July and by 303,000 jobs over the past year, reaching a 10-year high, while the industry's unemployment rate and level hit an all-time low, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said it was likely firms would have added even more workers if they could find qualified candidates to hire.
"The construction industry has added workers at nearly three times the rate of the economy as a whole, and the job gains are showing up in both residential and non-residential construction," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "But it is getting ever harder for contractors to find workers despite offering above-average pay and good career advancement opportunities." Read More...
House Democrat wants road bond bidding inquiry
The Democratic leader in the West Virginia House of Delegates wants to know if the Justice administration deliberately underestimated project costs to promote the "Roads to Prosperity" bond referendum last October.
"It's certainly an issue worth exploring, and it's an issue to which the public is entitled to an answer," House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said after bids for the first "big-ticket" Roads to Prosperity project, on Interstate 70 in Wheeling, came in more than $100 million over original estimates.
Miley questions whether Gov. Jim Justice's administration intentionally underestimated project costs to provide voters with an overly long list of statewide projects to be funded with road bonds, or whether Division of Highways officials were not competent in estimating project costs. Read More...
Safety and Education
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OSHA Proposes Rule to Better Protect Personally Identifiable Information
OSHA issued a  Notice of Proposed Rulemaking  to better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular individual by removing provisions of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule. OSHA believes this proposal maintains safety and health protections for workers, protects privacy, and reduces the burdens of complying with the current rule.
The proposed rule eliminates the requirement to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to maintain injury and illness records. These establishments would be required to electronically submit information only from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). For more information, read the  news release .
Safe + Sound Week: Join the Movement to Make Safety a Priority
Safe + Sound Week is Aug. 13-19.  Register to join  the more than 1,000 organizations already planning to participate. The Safe + Sound website offers free training and events, including a  w orkshop from Maryland OSHA and webinars from the  National Safety Education Center  and Chief Insurance Solutions, LLC. A free  OSHA webinar  can help you to change your approach to safety and health as well as plan an event. Visit the  Safe + Sound Week webpage  for more information.
Redesigned OSHA Regulations Webpage Provides Easier Navigation
OSHA redesigned the Law and Regulations webpage that features information on standards and rulemaking. Users can now search standards by keyword or number, find a list of key resources, and see the latest updates on active rulemaking. The page also features information buttons to explain regulatory language that may be unfamiliar to som e users. Visit the   revised page  to learn how OSHA accomplishes its mission through rulemaking.
Safety Tool Box Talk
Plan Room News
A di What Is the Plan Room?
  • It is a conveniently located source of construction plans for the Ohio Valley area
  • It publishes a weekly Construction Report listing projects out for bid, due dates, apparent low bidders and contracts awarded
  • It provides updates on projects throughout the week by email
  • It provides online access to plans and specifications for your review and downloading
  • It provides bidders lists
  • It has staff that will get the plans you need whenever possible

Submit Plans & Specs
As an Owner or Architect of a project, placing your project plans in the OVCEC Plan Room will help to insure the success of your project.
The Plan Room will:
  • Help you publicize your project
  • Increase the quantity and quality of bids you receive for your project
  • Help you get addenda out to bidders
  • Reduce your cost of blueprint duplication by allowing electronic submission to Plan Room Online