California Department of Transportation
 

Office of Special Funded Projects

Current Issues

Availability of W and HP steel members


January 2007

Recently Caltrans estimators spoke with several structural steel suppliers regarding the availablility of sections. LB Foster and Skyline Steel both reported that W sections are more difficult to acquire at this time than HP sections.

Skyline stated that lately it has had difficulty filling W section orders and has had to go to six or seven warehouses to find them. They said W section prices would be higher and procurement would be 12-16 weeks. They strongly recommended going with a comparable H section, which is less expensive and has about an 8 week procurement time.

LB Foster felt that in general H sections were slightly less expensive and slightly more available. They said that they are experiencing high demand for all sections but because W sections have wider applications (above and below the ground), HP sections were more available. For example, the next rolling of the W14X82 is scheduled for April and all stock is already committed with no future rolling date planned. On the other hand, they noted that the HP14X89 is readily available and could probably be supplied off the shelf. They also noted that they have received notification that the price of scrap metal is going up an unknown amount and therefore some cost increase is anticipated.

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