Inflation impacting road paving projects in Essex County


Essex County Council will receive a report at Wednesday's meeting on the impact inflation is having on road paving materials, specifically the cost of asphalt cement.

Earlier in 2022, Council approved the award of three asphalt road rehabilitation programs, which included work at the Sun Parlor Home and for the Town of Essex.

A report from administration says that at the time tenders closed, the asphalt cement (AC) cost was $915.50/tonne, but it's expected the price at the time of paving will be approximately $1,300/tonne. Using estimated tonnages from the three contracts, the impact due to inflation will be approximately $680,000.

Allan Botham, Director of Infrastructure and Planning Services, says asphalt cement is a petroleum product and it's impacted by the price of oil worldwide.

Botham says they build in a contingency allowance in the contracts to manage any rises but this year is significantly higher.

"I felt because the amount that asphalt cement has risen, I felt it's important just to report back to County Council what that impact might be," he says. "Just inform them and let them decide or support some of the things we're recommending, such as perhaps cutting the roads we put into our plan."

Administration is recommending $300,000 worth of paving be cut to mitigate the impact of inflation, particularly 350m of County Road 27 north of County Road 8, and County Road 23 (Gosfield Townline to County Road 8).

These projects were scheduled for future years but were moved up to the 2022 schedule due to available provincial funding. If cut from this year's work schedule, they would be put back into their previously held position in the five year forecast.

County Council would also be asked to approve additional funding from the Rate Stabilization Reserve, up to $420,016, to mitigate the cost of escalating asphalt cement prices.

Essex County Council meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday.