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Detroit Will Have to Delay Cement Construction Projects Due to Cement Shortage

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A shortage of cement, a key binding component used in the production of concrete, is causing a major delay in construction projects throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes Region.

The cement industry is blaming the lack of cement on last year’s harsh winter, saying that shipping towards the end of the winter season was delayed because of the lingering effects of the polar vortex. Over the winter, the Great Lakes froze over almost completely, which in turn meant that shipping companies had to wait longer in order to be able to complete shipments across the lakes. An oil boom in North Dakota also tied up shipping methods, adding to the delay of springtime cement shipping.

“As the polar vortex continued, cement storage facilities remained full. When the weather warmed, construction picked up as did the demand for cement. However, transportation bottlenecks resulted in cement sufficient to meet pent-up customer demand was not able to make it to the Great Lakes region in what was an usually heightened and compressed seasonal demand period,” noted Michigan cement producer Lafarge North America, according to the Detroit Free Press.

As a result, even projects that are usually quick and simple to complete are being put off much longer than is typical for this time of year. Homeowners looking to have their driveways redone with concrete, for instance, could be put on a waiting list for over a month.

Some blame the state for the delays, arguing that the Michigan Department of Transportation is claiming priority for its road construction projects, although authorities from the Michigan Concrete Association say that the reconstruction of I-96 was scheduled long before the cement shortage became a problem.

As if the delay were not bad enough, there is also a rush to get construction projects done before the winter season arrives. With weather forecasts predicting another cold, snowy winter, it is unlikely that many projects will be completed over the course of the season.

So what is the solution? Most big construction projects will have to wait their turn, but for homeowners who had hoped to have a cement driveway poured before winter, they may consider choosing a different material for their driveways. Gravel, for example, is another popular choice for driveways and can even last a lifetime.

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