Vail escapes asphalt shortage | VailDaily.com
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Vail escapes asphalt shortage

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Road construction projects in Eagle County will still be completed according to schedule despite nationwide asphalt shortages, transportation officials said.

Due to the shortages, the Colorado Department of Transportation is reviewing its 2008 summer highway projects. Some projects may be delayed until next year, take longer to complete, or different material may need to be used.

Local projects include Interstate 70 repaving from East Vail to Dowd Junction and repaving on U.S. Highway 24 near Leadville. Projects on busier routes, areas with the most significant pavement damage or those already “milled,” meaning the pavement has been taken up, will take top priority.

“I-70 resurfacing is moving forward” said CDOT spokesperson Nancy Shanks. “We don’t know about Highway 24, but it’s already milled, so we hope that won’t be affected.”

The only delay thus far in this area will be a repaving project on U.S. Highway 82 west of Basalt. The asphalt shortage is expected to be short-term but has the potential to affect 34 of CDOT’s projects around the state this summer.

The shortage is partially caused by rising oil prices, Shanks said.

Asphalt is produced from some of the end products of the oil refining process. However, there are ways to extract more fuel from the end products, and some refiners are choosing that more lucrative option instead of producing asphalt, Shanks explained.

“The price of asphalt certainly follows the price of oil. It all trickles down. As the cost of oil products rise, if refineries can make more money with other products, they will,” she said.

CDOT engineers are still assessing some of the road projects and looking for solutions for the shortage.

“We’ll just have to wait and see. We’ll know more in the next few weeks,” Shanks said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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