Countries with advanced infrastructure tend to have higher GDPs, as infrastructure is the backbone of an economy.
Infrastructure construction is the process of building these physical systems, which are crucial to spur growth and development. A nation needs money (and lots of it!) to build infrastructure, as it can require an exorbitant amount of resources like labor, materials, and equipment.
In fact, in 2021, the American government signed one of the country’s largest infrastructure spending laws to spur economic development. This law is known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and sets aside more than $550 billion to be invested in infrastructure projects around the country for the next five years.
And it’s estimated that more than $1.2 trillion will be spent on infrastructure construction in the United States in the next ten years. It’s important to note that the money will be spent in phases and will be shared with all counties.
Regardless, as governments prioritize spending more on transportation infrastructure and core infrastructures like water dams, broadband, and power grids, it’ll become increasingly more important to have these costly projects completed on time.
Here’s what you need to know about infrastructure construction.
Technologies used in infrastructure development
Optioneering platforms are likely to see increased popularity and use in infrastructure development in the coming years, and involve providing and weighing various alternatives to find the best solution suited to a project’s needs.
One such technology that uses optioneering is https://www.alicetechnologies.com/solutions/for-infrastructure. ALICE was created to solve challenges commonly associated with complex, high-value construction projects. It simulates possibilities that advise you on the best approach to optimizing resources and recovering delayed projects.
It’s not uncommon for contractors to use drones to collect data when infrastructure construction projects are done in remote and hard-to-reach areas. They’re used primarily to conduct site surveys and for aerial imaging activities.
BIM is also leveraged to foster smoother workflows and more collaborative environments, increasing efficiency, as it becomes easier for independent contractors to peer review designs and blueprints.
Virtual reality is another technology currently being used, especially in the preconstruction phase of a project. Project owners are using the technology to create more realistic visual representations of what the project will look like once it has been completed.
This technology can also be used during the construction phase, especially when dealing with commercial units. Contractors can use virtual reality to identify safety hazards on construction sites, reducing the risk of being sued due to negligence.
3D printing may be used alongside BIM technology in infrastructure construction to create prefabricated structures. Construction firms have used it to print out spare parts, especially for those that are either costly or hard to find.
Cloud-based document storage platforms
Construction projects deal with a lot of documents. The bigger the construction project, the more documents involved. Crucial documents like contracts, blueprints, and permit certificates need top-notch security and must be properly stored.
It is for this reason that contractors are using cloud-based document storage platforms, as it allows for more refined accessibility.
Communication platforms are being increasingly used to coordinate construction work and assign duties, increasing efficiency and allowing workers to be held accountable.
Although often overlooked in construction projects, communication is one of the most important parts of ensuring that a project runs smoothly.
Types of infrastructure construction
In the United States, infrastructure construction can either be entirely financed by the government or through a public-private partnership. Under a public-private partnership agreement, private companies are expected to use their capital to build an identified infrastructure.
An example is when a contractor uses their money to build a highway, hoping to recoup it by charging a toll fee. This arrangement is mainly used in government projects because they are more affordable.
Here are some of the most common infrastructure projects that are carried out under this agreement.
This project involves the construction and maintenance of bridges that help people reach areas that are normally inaccessible. For example, the Golden Gate Bridge is around 1.6 kilometers long and connects San Francisco to Marin county, which are normally separated by the Pacific Ocean. Its total construction cost was $35 million.
Just like bridges, roads are constructed for connectivity and productivity purposes, allowing the movement of goods and people. Some famous roads in the United States that have reduced transportation time include Highway 12 in Utah, the Great River Road, and Overseas Highway in Florida, all of which have cost a substantial amount of money to build and maintain.
Power and energy infrastructure
These construction projects power the American economy. The United States boasts of one of the longest electrical power lines in the world, with power lines that stretch more than 160,000 miles. Other energy infrastructure projects include windmills and nuclear power generation facilities.
The primary purpose of rail infrastructure is to carry bulky products and transport people over long distances. A well-known rail infrastructure project is the high-speed California rail system, which is still under development and has so far cost billions of dollars to construct.
This type of infrastructure sees the creation of sustainable water projects that collect, store, and distribute clean water to residents, including dams and water treatment facilities. A prominent example is the Pennsylvania water infrastructure project, a project that is intended to treat drinking water and manage pollution, and has seen an investment of millions of dollars.
Infrastructure construction is the backbone of any economy
To remain competitive on a global scale, the U.S. has recognized the need to upgrade its infrastructure. Infrastructure projects are capital intensive, and for this reason, has seen governments offering bonds to investors. These long-term loans are the hope of improving infrastructure and building a more efficient economy.