SAN FRANCISCO—The slowdown in the economy was an opportunity too good to miss for many large construction projects. In response, accelerated construction timetables came about with fewer people, planes and cars to work around. From San Francisco and Los Angeles to New York and elsewhere, major projects were completed weeks and months ahead of schedule.

One of the earliest projects was the replacement of an aging highway intersection near San Francisco International Airport. First slated to take three weeks, state engineers took advantage of the work-from-home mandate in April to compress the work into 10 days.

Another Bay Area freeway, Interstate 680, recently opened the final 10 miles of a record 25-mile $110 million carpool/express lane a year early. In July, Contra Costa College in San Pablo, CA, announced its $68 million Science Center by SmithGroup architects and BHM Construction had accelerated by a week, due in part to COVID slowdowns, and is on pace for moving up the opening two years early, to July 2021.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is an editor for the south and west regions of She has 25-plus years of real estate experience, with a regional PR role at Grubb & Ellis and a national communications position at MMI. Brown also spent 10 years as executive director at NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area chapter, where she led the organization to achieving its first national award honors and recognition on Capitol Hill. She has written extensively on commercial real estate topics and edited numerous pieces on the subject.