The following typical sentence uses the preposition of :
Construction of the plant began in November 1938, and completed by the following summer
But I've discovered some instances when on is used:
Construction on the plant is expected to begin in late summer, and the plant is expected to be open by spring or early summer of 2015. (from Jackson Sun)
Construction on the plant started in the late 1970s. (from The Steel Industry of China)
Construction on the Shidao Bay plant began in 2011 but was suspended in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the China Internet Information Center said. (from Australia Network News)
Is the use of the on preposition a typo or a mistake? Or is there some subtle difference in meaning? Could it be a shortening of "construction work on the plant started in..."?
In Russian we may only say "construction of the plant began in..", so I tend to translate such sentences using of only. On seems counterintuitive. To start some operation on something, one has to have that something present in the first place, yet when a new plant construction project is launched, there is no plant present.
"Construction on the plant", when rendered in Russian, would mean adding some facility or building to an already existing plant.