$26 billion in construction projects forecast in N.J.

There are indications that construction activity in New Jersey is on the rise.

Business, labor and construction professionals, meeting Thursday in Trenton, expect more than $26 billion in public and private construction projects in the Garden State in the next two years.

New Jersey Alliance for Action President Phil Beachem said that would be an 18 percent increase over the past two years.

“As the construction economy goes, so goes New Jersey’s economy,” Beachem said. “So this is an important indicator or barometer as to whether the state is weathering this recession that we’re in.”

Beachem said the projections could be affected by decisions made in Washington on funding for transportation and civil works projects.

And he said the highway construction sector is benefiting from projects on the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

While highway construction is holding its own, Beachem said he’s concerned about what will happen when the current Turnpike projects are over.

“”If they don’t have design work then it’s only a matter of a year before there’s no contract being bid because there’s not a design project,” he said. “Without a contract being bid, you have no private sector contractors working and no building trades workers working.”

No significant pickup is anticipated anytime soon for commercial and residential building construction.

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