Paving costs for county expected to rise

LISBON — Columbiana County Engineer Bert Dawson said prices were expected to go up for paving contracts, so the estimates for costs were adjusted.

The bids opened last week for contracts awarded Wednesday were higher than the estimates — now communities will need to re-evaluate their lists to decide what roads get paved this year and which ones have to wait.

Dawson said they had noticed prices for products escalating and were told costs for suppliers had gone up 40 percent.

“No one was really shocked,” he said.

County commissioners awarded two contracts for paving Wednesday, both to the Shelly Company, the lone bidder for ether project. Chief Deputy Highway Engineer Bill Helscel said the multi-highway paving project, which involves multiple townships and communities, had been estimated at $3.5 million, but the contract was awarded for $3,874,309, the total of the lone bid. As for the Homeworth Road paving project, the estimate was $934,000 and included Cherry Street. Knox Township had planned to cover the costs for Cherry Street. The contract was awarded for $1,026,000, which was the lone bid amount.

Helscel said the prices for asphalt and diesel fuel are both affecting the paving companies, noting “all the costs have gone up.”

Now there’s talk about reducing the gas tax at both the state and federal level and Dawson said that will have an effect on the department’s income if it happens. He explained that nearly 50 percent of the state money the county engineer’s office receives comes from the state gas tax. The county also has a very active federal program, applying for and receiving federal funds for bridge and road rehabilitation projects, so those funds would be affected if the federal gas tax stops.

Dawson said if they pave a road every 10 years, the road doesn’t go bad before its done again. If they wait 15 to 20 years without repaving, then the project will become more of a reconstruction, which costs considerably more.

“You don’t wait until it’s falling apart before you go in to repair it,” he said.

If funds are depleted, then those projects just to maintain can’t be done as often.

Helscel said he’ll be contacting the townships and communities who are part of the multi-highway paving project and Knox Township regarding Cherry Street, then the list of roads to be done will be finalized.

In other business, the commissioners approved resolutions to distribute more American Rescue Plan Act funds, giving $20,000 to the Columbiana County Park District for equipment and materials and $5,000 to the Retired Senior Volunteer Program for assistance for senior programs.

The next meeting will be 9 a.m. July 13.



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