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Local government prepares for paving amid price increases

Anticipated pricing increases for materials for county and city roadway resurfacing will impact the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budgets locally, with leaders searching for ways to stretch budgeted dollars in the face of expected and continuing rising oil prices.

Judge/Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts said during Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting the county’s current contract with Yager Materials of Owensboro will expire June 30, though he had attempted to extend the contract for another year.

“The contract allows for an extension at current rates, if both parties agree,” Roberts said. “Yager declined to do that, as they expect their material costs to increase in the near future.”

Current contract pricing for the county for resurfacing ranges from $65,000 to $70,000 per mile, with the fluctuation based upon the width of various roads in need of repair.

There are approximately 200 miles of county roads in Hancock County, and Roberts said Fiscal Court places a high priority on maintenance. The county’s budget for resurfacing has increased from $210,000 in 2017-2018 to $455,000 in 2021-2022.

“We will increase the budget again for 2022-2023,” Roberts said. “The bidding process for the contract will begin within a couple of weeks, and the goal is to give the roads that need attention the maintenance the people of the county deserve.”

Asphalt – which can be found naturally or distilled from petroleum – is the bonding agent for the aggregate in nearly all paving applications, creating asphalt concrete. Most asphalt used in in commercial applications is produced from petroleum.

Petroleum pricing has seen a sharp increase over the past year, from $12.78 a barrel on April 27, 2021 to $98.54 on April 25, 2022. While the price continues to decline, those reliant on the refining of petroleum products must plan business operations based upon market trends. Suppliers to those commercial operations pass the increases all along down the consuming line. The high price for a barrel of petroleum was $123.70 on March 8, 2022.

In related business, officials with Kentucky Highway District 2 attended the meeting to announce $391,974 in Rural Secondary Road funding and $152,683 in flex funding, which can be designated by the county.

The Highway Department will address resurfacing on Kentucky Route 2181 from mile point 8.52 to mile point 11.93. The estimated cost of the project is $342,000, though the state factored in overage funding to account for possible materials increases.

The route carries about 432 trucks per day, according to state traffic counts.

Magistrate L.T. Newton told Fiscal Court and state officials he was concerned about the conditions of portion of Kentucky 1700, while Magistrates Kasey Emmick and John Mark Gray expressed concerns about needed guardrails on various state routes. Officials said guardrail projects from district across Kentucky are prioritized by district, then sent to Frankfort for further analysis.

Hawesville, Lewisport work to stretch dollars

Hawesville Mayor Charlie King said while the city has not resurfaced any streets in the past four years, it has worked to set aside $200,000 to meet future needs. As well, the city is set to receive $12-15,000 in municipal road aid from the state.

“Our city employees have surveyed the streets and we are currently evaluating the needs for the city,” King said. “The common sense approach is to do the ones that need it the most first. We attempt to piggyback on the county’s contractor when they are in the area.”

King said streets maintenance is one of the most impactful costs on the city’s annual budget. With limited funds, King believes it is vital to put the money into streets which will have the most broad impact upon citizens.

Lewisport Mayor Chad Gregory said the city typically relies on funding through the road aid program to address streets needs in the city, even though the funding has seen a sharp decrease over the past few years and the city received no funding this season.

This season, Lewisport will fund a $32,500-project to resurface Pell Street from its intersection with 4th Street to the intersection with 2nd Street. Scotty’s Contracting & Stone was rewarded the bid.

“Our streets are actually in pretty good shape,” Gregory said. “We keep an eye on them through the winter, and maintain a ranking of need. This portion approved was starting to show some age with the sealant in cracks, so it was time for paving.”

Gregory said there are a few other streets in the city which will require some sealing and patching following winter weather, and the city responds to citizen tips on needs in the city.

By C. Josh Givens

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