10/16/05 — Prices will affect some city projects

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Prices will affect some city projects

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 16, 2005 2:19 AM

Strolling down cracked, deteriorating sidewalks might become more commonplace across the city as increased fuel prices have pushed the cost of construction materials sky-high, city officials learned this week.

Effective this month, the cost of asphalt and concrete will increase dramatically because of price hikes for unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel, officials said.

W. Reade Dawson, an engineer with the asphalt division at S.T. Wooten Corp., said his company recently increased the price of asphalt from $38 to $42 per ton.

"The cost of diesel is rising and causing these increases," Dawson said.

Should the price of diesel decrease, however, there are no guarantees that asphalt costs will follow.

"The cost could possibly come down, but it depends on the volatility of the market," he said.

Concrete prices are also on the rise.

In a memo to the city of Goldsboro, Tommy Smith, operations manager for Ready Mixed Concrete Co., warned city officials they should expect a huge increase in prices because of spiking gasoline costs. Additionally, the company has begun charging a $7.50 per load fuel surcharge to combat prices at the pump.

City officials say these increases will likely have implications in Goldsboro. City general services manager Joe Sawyer said the city-wide sidewalk repair project will not be fully completed in light of these increases.

"We are targeting heavily traveled areas," Sawyer said. "But we'll finish less now because of the concrete prices."

Street repairs will still occur as planned, but the projects might face delays when the budgeted funds run out, Sawyer said.

"We'll go forward until the money runs out," he said. "Then, we will have to ask the city council for more money."

City Manager Joe Huffman said the new cost of these materials might also impact other projects around the city. Several projects are currently underway, including Stoney Creek Park, the three-phase city hall project, Paramount Theater and the new community center.

"It (price increase) could affect some of them," Huffman said. "I anticipate an impact on the Paramount and community center projects."