Economy cutting cost of building roads in Missouri

ST. LOUIS | Here's one bright spot of the troubled economy — it's forcing construction firms to cut costs, helping Missouri and Illinois get more for their road-building dollars.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Saturday that Missouri Department of Transportation figures show the average cost for state highway construction has shrunk about 14 percent since last July. That's saved the state $108 million on 346 jobs.

The trend is continuing for the state's federal stimulus projects as contractors competing for the first two rounds have offered bids 15 percent below the department's estimates.

The savings are welcome as the recession has provided less revenue for road and bridge work.