Citizen outrage over sprawl in the nation's suburbs was voted the top construction industry news story of 1999 by members of the Construction Writers Association.

Long heralded as a symbol of a healthy economy, suburban growth has triggered a backlash among citizens in many areas. Concerns range from degraded air and water quality to overcrowded roads and schools. In turn, local and state officials are increasingly being pressured to adopt "smart growth planning policies and, in some cases, limit new residential and commercial construction.

A close second in the annual CWA survey was the proliferation of mergers and acquisitions among construction equipment manufacturers, material suppliers and contractors. Other issues that made the list were were utility restructuring, earthquakes that demonstrated the tragic consequences of poor construction practices, and TEA-21.