RICHMOND, Va. — Ongoing supply chain issues could soon have major impacts on construction projects in Central Virginia.
Terrell Hughes serves as director of Henrico Public Works. About 15 to 20 locations are under construction in the county at any given time.
Hughes said he’s seeing supply chain issues involving two vital construction materials: concrete and steel pipes. The construction industry is like many struggling to catch up with demand following the pandemic due to labor shortages and other issues.
“If we need ductile iron, which is a lot of times needed for waterline relocations, it impacts the project anywhere six to nine months just to get materials,” Hughes explained. “That's why we tend to hold off a little bit before we actually kick off construction. We do allow the contractors to order materials ahead of time so that we can try to minimize those disruptions.”
Henrico County is essentially in competition with the other localities across the Commonwealth and country who received millions of dollars in funding from the infrastructure bill. Locally, the Central Virginia Transportation Authority recently dispersed funds for road projects from dollars allocated by the General Assembly.
Hughes said the delivery delays haven't improved either.
The soaring price of diesel is also causing disruptions and price increases. Diesel plays a major part in virtually every construction project.
Asphalt pavement is also heavily tied to the price of gas, Hughes said.
“As we bid out new projects, we are seeing an increase in cost,” he explained. “Then when you when you factor in the state of Virginia just saw an influx of funding, in addition to some of the funding that the state already had — there are a lot of projects starting to move that historically may have been at a standstill.”
The average price for a gallon of diesel hit another record high in Virginia on Friday at $5.81.
Diesel fuels the construction equipment on site and the tractor trailers that haul the materials into the county. That can all quickly add to the growing cost of the project.