With road-paving prices skyrocketing, Madison County officials are exploring the possibility of purchasing more equipment and handling paving jobs in-house.
County commissioners recently opened bids for several proposed road projects and saw that costs from road-paving companies had nearly doubled.
“We’ve got a problem,” said county commission chairman Anthony Dove. “There’s no way we can pay these prices and get these roads paved.”
Dove said the county could partner with neighboring Oglethorpe County, which is already handling its own roadwork, on local paving projects. The chairman said Madison County could purchase used equipment to tar and gravel dirt roads for roughly $100,000. The same equipment purchased new would cost about $300,000, he said, adding that several officials plan to make a trip to south Georgia soon to look at some of the equipment that could be used.
Those purchases could be made with special purpose local option sales tax money. The county currently has 113.24 miles of dirt roads.
Dove said the massive spike in prices is not due to an increase in cost in materials. He said Oglethorpe officials, who handle the work themselves, say the cost of materials is actually down from last year. However, considerable road-paving work is now being done in areas in middle and south Georgia, where the one-cent transportation tax passed. That tax was shot down in north Georgia. Dove said the supply-demand balance has been affected by the work down south, leading to higher prices here.
Dove said he expects county commissioners to talk more about road-paving issues at upcoming meetings.