ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Paving season is now underway after months of potholes and cracked roads in the Twin Tiers, but rising costs in asphalt might make this season a hard one.
According to Chemung County Public Works Director Andrew Avery, the price of asphalt rose from around 72 dollars a ton this past spring to near 90 dollars a ton today. This is following a recent paving of pothole and damaged roads and parking lots across the Twin Tiers. The asphalt has a connection to the ongoing oil problem nationwide.
“Asphalt or concrete is basically a by-product from an oil-making process,” said Andrew. “You’re only getting less than five percent of asphalt out of a single barrel of oil. The rest is going to gasoline and diesel, and with the gasoline and diesel prices soaring, more money is going to refine those products. At the same time, the asphalt price is going to go up as well.”
The higher cost of asphalt is making it difficult for contractors to figure out the amount of pavement needed to fix damaged roads without spending too much money. Some roads and parking lots may have to stay in their pre-paved phase a little while longer. Andrew Avery hopes that prices will eventually level out by at least the end of this year’s paving season, but a few cuts would have to be made.
“The first things that would be cut would be design projects for future years,” Andrew said. “We could certainly push those a little bit out to try to save some funds.”
Andrew adds that part of the goal for the rise in asphalt prices is to not look for any additional funds to get the work done too fast. This could hurt the taxpayers in addition to damaged roads. Another part of the goal is to stay on budget and try to maintain a delicate balancing act.