BURBANK, CA-Commercial construction continued to do its part in boosting California’s total construction volume in September, although heavy construction remains the biggest driver of year-to-year gains in the state’s overall construction activity, according to the Construction Industry Research Board (CIRB).The nonprofit CIRB reports that the sum of all types of construction totaled nearly $6.7 billion in September, up nearly 16% from September of last year, with heavy construction projects, which include public works jobs, accounting for the biggest part of the gain for the second straight month.But private commercial construction, which has rebounded this year after several slow years, continues to improve as well. CIRB analysts report that commercial and residential private building activity year to date totals $45.5 billion, up 14.7% from the year-ago period. Permits issued in California in September for commercial building totaled $1.3 billion, boosting commercial building to a total of $11.9 billion for the first nine months, a gain of 11.6% from the same period a year ago. Year to date, three of the state’s five major regions show gains in total commercial building. The largest gain is in Southern California, up $992.9 million and accounting for 80.6% of the statewide increase. On the heavy construction side, building totaled more than $1 billion in September. “While a billion-dollar month for heavy construction activity is not uncommon it takes large projects to make it happen,” notes Ben Bartolotto, director of the CIRB. Large projects counted in September include a $113.2-million freeway project in Los Angles County, two rail projects in San Diego County totaling $232.4 million, an $81.9-million bridge project in San Diego County and a $52.6-million waste treatment project in Santa Clara County. Bartolotto adds that all construction sectors are up in the first nine months of 2004 except public buildings construction, which declined 6.1% to $6.7 billion.

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