15 July 2008

Another DOT faces troubles with projects

Denver Post - Asphalt deficit gives CDOT a bumpy ride

For those of you who may or may not know, after Katrina hit, I moved out to Colorado for a year or so. I still keep an eye on the old homestead, and this disturbs me.

I posted a few weeks ago about Mississippi getting hit with a shortage of funding, and how that may affect their future projects. Now, another DOT is getting hit, but for a different reason. Projects on I-25, among others, are being hit by an asphalt shortage.

"A shortage of liquid asphalt is occurring, in part, because oil refiners are concentrating on producing more profitable finished products from crude oil, such as diesel fuel, said Tom Peterson, executive director of the Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association.

Refiners also are processing more light crude petroleum, which produces less asphalt than heavy crude, Peterson said."

So we can blame the speculators for more than making the cost of a fillup run more than a week's food. We can also blame them as the roads collapse underneath us. Demand's still pretty damned high for gasoline and diesel, so of course something's going to get reduced. In this case, it's asphalt. As well, a special polymer CDOT requires is also in a shortage due to increased demand around the world and a disruption at two European factories that make the stuff.

In short, this is only the beginning. Some DOTs are shifting more to concrete paving because of the shortage and price of asphalt. In some cases, it's becoming more practical to use it. Soon, others may not even have a choice in the matter.

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