Asphalt prices escalating as county buys 4,500 tons

Mesa County is spending some bucks for rolling iron and walking people.

The commission on Monday approved the purchase of 4,500 tons of asphalt, with a cost that’s 23.2 percent higher per ton than last year. The county also approved spending $44,654 from a state grant for three pedestrian bridges.

For the past three years, the county has bought 4,500 tons of asphalt a year. Last year, it cost $51.94 per ton, said Eric Bruton, director of the Mesa County Road and Bridge Department. 

This year, United Companies is charging Mesa County $64 a ton. The county also got an offer, which it rejected, from Elam Construction for $73 a ton.

The two companies are the only suppliers for western Colorado that can accommodate the county’s demand for asphalt, Bruton said.

Asphalt’s main ingredient comes from oil. So with the price of a gallon of gas down to around $2, why the price increase?

Kyle Alpha, general manager of United Companies, 2273 River Road, said the price shot up dramatically around the country last year.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in the price of liquid asphalt oil,” Alpha said.

Admittedly, the price of oil has gone down, Alpha said, but United Companies anticipates the price will climb. To compensate for the anticipated price increase in a barrel of oil, United Companies upped its prices.

The good news is Alpha is predicting a slow, steady increase in the price of a barrel of oil, and not a dramatic spike.

The county is benefiting from a $44,654 grant from the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Fishing is Fun program. The money will help purchase three pedestrian bridges on the mesa.

The “custom steel fishing bridges” will be placed at Beaver, Sunset and Jumbo reservoirs. Contech Construction of Minnesota edged out three competitors and won the bid.


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