Engineer’s Office will be getting in some road work

LISBON – The Columbiana County Engineer’s Office will resurface 127 miles of roads this year, which is the same amount resurfaced in 2013.

“We’re consistent, if anything else,” said Bob Durbin, chief deputy county engineer.

The breakdown for each category of resurfacing is also nearly the same, with 114 miles being resurfaced with chip seal and 13.4 miles resurfaced with hot-mix asphalt, or black top, as it is more commonly known. The cost is a combined $3.3 million.

The engineer’s office has resurfaced 110 to 120 miles of roads annually on average during the 23 years Durbin has worked for the county. How many miles exactly depends on funding available during any given year from the county, state and, sometimes, the federal government.

For instance, several years ago the county was able to resurface 44 miles with black top after obtaining $4 million in federal funding through the Ohio Department of Transportation. There is no such source of additional resurfacing funding this year.

Black top roads costs $140,000 per mile, compared to $17,000 per mile for roads resurfaced using chip seal, which is why the county does significantly more miles using the latter.

In addition to resurfacing county roads, the engineer’s office also helps villages and townships with their resurfacing. The villages and townships pay for the material, with the engineer’s office doing the work for free.

Durbin is just glad the cost of emulsion asphalt actually declined, which allowed the county to maintain the same resurfacing schedule as last year. The bids for the material, which is used in both resurfacing methods, came in this year at $1.99 per gallon, compared to $2.01 in 2013.

This is a far cry from the mid 2000s, when the cost of emulsion asphalt rose 30 percent to 40 percent over several years, forcing the county to cut back on the number of miles.

Durbin said they also continue with the “double seal” of some chip seal roads resurfaced in more populated rural areas. This consists of a layer of larger slag, followed by a overlay of smaller stone to fill in the gaps and smooth out the surface. He said they cannot do this for every road because the smaller stone costs twice as much per ton as the larger slag.