Project spending and plant construction has been up for the last two years in the Rocky Mountain market region, says a report from Sugar Land, Texas-based Industrial Info Resources. The region, which includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, has experienced a total investment value (TIV) of about $3.5 billion for industrial plants in 2006 and 2007. This figure is forecast to grow in the coming years as more companies move into the region. For example, Intel Corp. is involved with a $3-billion expansion at its Chandler, Ariz., semiconductor manufacturing complex. A preliminary look into 2008 shows an estimated $12 billion is proposed for plants scheduled to become operational that year, either as planned, engineered, or under construction.

Although plant construction growth pays a big part in the health of the region’s industrial sector, a decrease in the number of plants shutting down also plays a factor. The number of operational plants that closed in the region over the past two years has dropped 32% this year, with only a dozen plants closing, as opposed to the 38 plants that closed in 2006. The positive trend is expected to continue into 2008, with only three plants scheduled to close.