The Delaware County Engineer’s Office estimates that the 2018 Road Improvement Program will cost the county $7.8 million to resurface various county and township roadways.

Rob Riley, chief deputy engineer, approached commissioners Monday asking for approval to set a date to receive bids from contractors.

“We are proposing to resurface 38 miles of county roads and … an additional 58 miles of township roads,” he said. “The contract estimate for the county portion is about $2.7 million and the township portion accounts for another $5.1 million.”

Riley said the estimate for the program totals about $7.8 million.

“It’s a really sizable resurfacing program for a county,” he said. “We think, as in years past, it causes our bidders to sharpen their pencils and give us the best price they can because it’s a sizable amount of work even for a large paving contractor.”

Riley said the engineer’s office was hopeful for good prices again this year, but they weren’t sure how oil prices would impact the cost of materials.

“Oil prices have been up and down,” he said.

Commissioner Gary Merrell said as the county grows, the budget to maintain roads would also have to increase.

“As the county grows and we add more roads, resurfacing is going to become a bigger and bigger part of our budget,” he said.

Riley said there was no question that the commissioner was right about the growth and cost of maintaining the county’s roads.

“We have currently just under 340 centerline miles of county roads. Thirty-eight miles is about 11 percent,” he said. “That’s not all paving. Some of that is preventive maintenance treatments like sealing that doesn’t necessarily totally repave the road but extends the life of the road. There is no question, you’re absolutely right. We’ll have to increase (the budget) to just keep pace with normal deterioration.”

Riley mentioned that the engineer’s office has several big road projects planned for the next several years.

“We’re trying to keep our resurfacing program at the minimum sustainable level,” he said. “Freeing up the cash for those bigger projects.”

During a joint meeting between the county commissioners and Delaware City Council held last month, Commissioner Jeff Benton said the county engineer has “$191 million planned in transportation projects over the next five years” and has “$160 million in funding.”

Riley said the engineer’s office “embraces the philosophy of pavement maintenance” to extend the life of asphalt surfaces.

“Generally, for an asphalt surface that will typically last for about 12 years, give or take,” he said. “Instead of waiting until the asphalt has failed, we will try to get to that surface in year eight and apply some sort of seal to it.”

Riley said the treatment is a thin micro liquid applied to the surface allowing another seven years of use out of the surface.

“Doing that is a less expensive process that gets more life out of the asphalt surface,” he said. “I think this is a good a program for this year.”

Commissioners approved setting a date for bids.

By D. Anthony Botkin

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Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.