US quarry owners are boosting their earnings as road builders start to pay more for better quality aggregates. According to a recent report in the Waco Tribune-Herald: “The search for better road gravel is leading McLennan County to import it from a source two hours away, at a cost six times more than the county is used to paying.”
Aggregates available locally are deteriorating and the county’s highway engineers are gearing up to pay more for surfaces that lasts longer.
The Waco Tribune-Herald says: “Switching to a vendor in Marble Falls will increase the county’s expense for aggregate road material from about $7 per ton to about $45 (per ton).”
According to county engineer Zane Dunnam: “The bottom line is that we will not be able to do the same quantity of roads, but the roads we do construct will last longer and therefore there will be a cost saving. The quality of aggregate and roadway materials has degraded over time. It’s to the point now the foremen are having difficulties building county roads, so the engineering office is looking and seeking new places to get higher-quality material.”
The report says that “McLennan County has traditionally used local sources for its aggregate road material, or washed gravel. After road and bridge department foremen asked for better material for building and maintaining county roads, Dunnam’s office consulted the Texas Department of Transportation for recommendations. Dunnam said the county wants its roads to meet TxDOT standards of quality.”
Also: “County commissioners in the past month made a deal to buy the material from Capitol Aggregates Inc. out of Marble Falls. The Precinct 1 Road and Bridge Department was the first department to purchase the material. Instead of bidding for a company, the county piggy-backed off a state contract to get the higher-quality company, Purchasing Director Ken Bass said. The Texas DOT (Department of Transportation) Waco office receives its aggregate road material from Burnet and Bell counties.”
Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Ken Roberts said: “Texas DOT doesn’t use local companies because they don’t provide the quality or consistency needed for roadwork. But that’s not new for TxDOT. Roberts said the department sourced its aggregate road material from outside McLennan County for years. This time of year, TxDOT uses an aggregate mixture as it seal-coats roads with a protective surface to extend the life of roadways. We’re in the process of seal-coating just over 170 miles of state, U.S. and farm-to-market roadways in our eight-county Waco district. That’s a considerable amount of aggregate that’s going to be used for those roadways. That project for what we’re doing districtwide is $8 million.”