Craighead County Road Crews Watching Every Cent

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) Your dollar isn't going as far as it used to, and because of that neither are some of the trucks that fix rural county roads.

In 2005, for example, the Craighead County Highway Department budgeted 250-thousand dollars for fuel.

In 2008, they budgeted more than 550-thousand dollars.

Like all of us, they are forced to count each penny in order to make ends meet.

"It seems like everytime we buy fuel it is higher than it was the last time we bought you really just have to watch what you're doing," said Craighead County Highway Department Road Superintendent, Ed Hill.

Craighead County road crews are watching every cent.

When or if the fuel prices go down is the question--until then, the answer for road crews is to make adjustments where they can.

"No, we're not doing any less work we're just doing things a little bit different. We're hauling different material that's cheaper, and we're staying here locally so that's costing us less in fuel prices," said Hill.

Not only are gas prices rising so too is the cost of the materials used to fix these rural county roads.

For example, Hill says crews would prefer to use chat on the roads, but because of it's price, for now crews are using red clay gravel to mend the roads.

"It's not quite as good, but you have to do what you have to do, and it's a whole lot cheaper," said Hill.

Hill says this chat costs between 120-150 dollars a truckload.

Compare that to red clay gravel that costs between 10 to 12 dollars a truckload.

Hill says crews don't have to travel nearly as far to stock up on this gravel, when before they were hauling chat from Black Rock.

Hill hopes these are just temporary adjustments.

"The chat we can haul all of the time. We're just holding back now so we can use it this fall, when the roads get messy," said Hill.

Hill says fortunately in the summer, if there's not a whole lot of rain, the road conditions don't change too much. He adds that if people are noticing the adjustments road crews are making, residents seem to understand.

"They know the price of fuel--they see it when they go to the pump. They understand, I hope they understand we're doing the best we can with the money that we have," said Hill.