Asphalt woes follow rough winter in Kittanning, region
An unrelenting winter has created a challenge for Kittanning and other municipalities heading into spring: How to best use depleted budgets to patch and pave miles of weather-beaten roads.
“It's become a crucial decision of what to patch and what not to patch,” Kittanning Borough Council President Randy Cloak said. “It was hard to justify spending a lot of money on something that's just going to be swept up and thrown away in a couple of months.”
The borough bought about 20 tons of cold patch asphalt and could need more, public works director Jim Mechling said.
“It seems like every time it rains, whatever we put in comes right back out,” Mechling said.
David Heilman, president of Hei-Way LLC, which supplies asphalt to municipalities in five states, said demand for asphalt is “off the charts.” He said his crew is able to keep up with demand by working longer hours and weekends.
Asphalt supplies have ebbed and flowed nationally during the years.
A shortage in 2008 led road projects from New York to Alaska to be delayed or completed at as high as triple the cost. Increasing oil prices and a shortage of a chemical used to mix asphalt were largely to blame.
Some areas of New Jersey had shortages in early March, with asphalt producers exhausting their daily supply by midday.
Kittanning officials hope to avoid asphalt shortages as summer progresses by starting their road work early, Cloak said. Council expects to repave portions of Jacob and North Water streets and North Grant Avenue, and will review bids for the project during its meeting on Monday night.
“Our projects are going to be significant, so we're hoping larger contractors won't have any trouble getting asphalt early in the season,” Cloak said. “I'd much rather see us move ahead now than be scratching my head wondering where we're going to get asphalt in September.”
So far, the state hasn't had trouble getting asphalt to repair its nearly 40,000 miles of road, said Rich Kirkpatrick, a transportation department spokesman.
PennDOT has used 125 percent more patching material to fix potholes this winter compared to last — 17.6 million tons compared to 7.8 million — and spent about $3.8 million more than last year, he said.
Kirkpatrick said that despite additional costs this winter, PennDOT is in a good financial position to complete road and bridge projects thanks to the new transportation funding law enacted in the fall.
Vince Tutino, president of Lindy Paving, New Galilee, said he doesn't anticipate a shortage this year based on his stockpiles and arrangements with quarries.
“I think we'll be fine with what we think the market will need in our area,” said Tutino, who supplies PennDOT, Pittsburgh and municipalities in Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties.
“Over the last three years, the requirements (from clients) have diminished. I think supplies for aggregate and asphalt will be adequate,” he said.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Family safe but dog dies in Sugarcreek trailer fire
- Aluminum rails stolen from Mosgrove river lock
- Ford City fundraiser benefits two groups
- Lost dog found; boxer now missing in Manor
- West Kittanning considers extending campfire hours on weekends
- Move forces Kittanning council president to resign
- Craftsmanship keeps Ford City wood products firm going through ups, downs
- Seed planted for use of Kittanning school properties
- Kittanning project extended to include courthouse sidewalks