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Economic slowdown not affecting many outdoor construction projects

While business closures and work-from-home orders have altered the employment scene for many Southwest Virginians, most outdoor construction projects are moving forward.

Workers on highway improvements, home and commercial construction and other projects generally have more room for the social distancing that is being called for in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We are not hearing of any significant shutdowns,” said Gordon Dixon, CEO of Associated General Contractors of Virginia, the state’s largest construction trade organization.

But conditions could change “day by day, if not hour by hour,” he said. One concern is that with local and state governments restricting the work of their employees, inspectors will not be available to review work and issue permission for construction to continue.

“That could grind projects to a halt,” Dixon said. Delivery of supplies could also be slowed if the coronavirus pandemic’s grip grows stronger in the coming days.

In Roanoke, field workers are continuing to inspect construction sites, according to the Planning, Building and Development Department’s website. But all rezoning and other land-use cases before the planning commission have been postponed, which could delay future projects.

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