FIRST LOOK – May 2018


Wirtgen Group Hosts Technology Days

Wirtgen Group hosted 1,200 customers, dealers and members of the trade press, including Rock Products’ Associate Editor Josephine Patterson, in Nashville for its Technology Days North America 2018.

Sunroc Acquires Arrowhead Concrete

Sunroc Corp., a construction services company serving southwest Wyoming, has closed the purchase of Rock Springs-based concrete company Arrowhead Concrete. The acquisition will amplify Sunroc’s current Wyoming production ability, making Sunroc among the largest sand and gravel, ready-mixed concrete, and concrete-pumping suppliers in the region.

Bad Roads and Bridges Cost Illinois Drivers

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Illinois motorists a total of $16.4 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,485 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays.


The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will publish a final rule on Examinations of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines that amends a final rule published on Jan. 23, 2017. The amendments to the final rule require that an examination of the working place be conducted before work begins or as miners begin working in that place, and that the examination record include a description of each condition found that may adversely affect the safety or health of miners and is not corrected promptly, and the date of the corrective action for the condition.


An estimated 339 Mt of crushed stone was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 4 percent compared with that of the same period of 2016. The estimated total output of crushed stone produced for consumption in 2017 was 1.35 Gt virtually the same as that in 2016. 


At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $708.1 billion, new construction starts in February slipped 3 percent from the previous month, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The reduced activity in February followed a 2 percent decline in January, as the early months of 2018 are showing some loss of momentum after the 12 percent increase reported back in December. 

Construction spending during February 2018 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,273.1 billion, 0.1 percent (±1.2 percent) above the revised January estimate of $1,272.2 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The February figure is 3.0 percent (±1.5 percent) above the February 2017 estimate of $1,235.7 billion.

According to FMI’s First Quarter Construction Outlook Report, total engineering and construction spending for the United States is forecast to be up 7 percent in 2018, compared to up 4 percent in 2017. Spending growth in 2018 is forecast to be led by residential and select nonresidential segments.


  • WTI crude oil futures price: 4/16/2018: $66.22/barrel, up $2.80 from week earlier; up $13.04 from year earlier.
  • Diesel fuel price: 4/16/2018: $2.747/gal., up $0.053 from week earlier; up $0.311 from year earlier.
  • Electricity price: 4/16/2018: Average price to industrial customers 6.97 cents/kilowatt hour; up from 6.58 cents/kilowatt hour a year earlier.
  • Natural gas futures price: 4/16/2018: $2.752/MMBtu; up $0.059 from week earlier; down $0.475 from year earlier.
  • Propane price: 3/26/2018: $2.480/gal., up from $2.390/gal. a year earlier.

    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

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