JONESBORO (KAIT) "Three inches thick, 20 feet wide and probably 145 Thousand dollars to do a mile."
That's what it could cost to pave a mile of highway with asphalt if the price keeps going up.
To keep it simple asphalt is made of rock and liquid asphalt which costs nearly 600 dollars a liquid ton and that's what's keeping the price up.
Mike George, Atlas Asphalt, "we were paying 3 months ago 350 - 375 dollars a liquid ton."
Asphalt which must be hauled from Memphis 2 or three times a day. On a truck which uses diesel.
All of this increase means that Atlas Asphalt will have to raise it's prices in July to...a little over 60 dollars a ton, a year ago we were selling for around 41 dollars a ton, 2 years ago it was around 32 dollars a ton.
With these increases, Craighead county and other customers may have to curtail some planned paving projects.
Ed Hill, Craighead County Highway Dept. "Probably gonna do maybe half or a fourth of what we planned on doing."
Projects like overlaying the road by KAIT are not being able to be bid out as far as they were because no one is sure what the prices are going to be.
With nearly 200 miles of paved highway to maintain, paving some unpaved roads is probably not going to happen and it may boil down to maintenance only.
Hill, "The bids on the new stuff if they're high enough than we see that were not gonna be able to do it we'll have to keep enough back to do our patching. Cause you gotta do patching, you gotta maintain what you got before you do the new stuff."
There have been no firm decisions on what will be done, but the matter was under discussion at the last meeting of the quorum court.
Hill, "We're sending some bids out at this time and were gonna wait till we get the bids back and see if we got enough money allotted to do very much."
Like everybody else we watch as the prices climb.
Hill, "And if it don't top out or level off or go back down we're not going to be able to do much."