With rock-bottom oil prices, 2016 is expected to be a banner year for asphalt projects across the nation.
That means Amherst city council is looking to move quickly to hire contractors as Ohio cities line up for summer road jobs.
“Companies are going to be overwhelmed, mark my words,” councilman Chuck Winiarski said Monday as elected officials took a preliminary vote on a $1.25 million paving plan.
He voiced workforce shortage worries should Amherst wait too long to award bids for mayor Mark Costilow’s summer paving proposal.
Asphalt jobs are planned for Church Street from Elyria Avenue to the railway overpass, Spring Street from Park Avenue to Cleveland Avenue, Meadowbrook Drive from Cooper Foster Park Road to the new portion of Braeburn Estates, Quail Court, Killdeer Court, Woodhill Drive from Park Avenue to Cleveland Avenue, and Pearl Street.
“The earlier we get on this, the better we’re going to be,” council president John Dietrich said.
Not all residents are happy with the prospect of blacktop work in Amherst.
Councilman David Janik raised concerns about overlaying asphalt on residential streets that are currently concrete, especially Quail Court on the city’s northwest side.
Asked whether Quail residents can opt against having their street paved this year, Costilow defended his decision to use asphalt there.
He said repairs are badly needed on the Quail cul-de-sac. An analysis showed putting down blacktop is the most cost-effective way to fix the problem, the mayor said.
Winiarski cited an Ohio Department of Transportation study that examined 462 miles of asphalt and concrete roads. Over 44 years, asphalt is six times less expensive per square yard, he said.
That news didn’t suit Quail Court resident August Tornabene: “Why should we take second fiddle for asphalt over concrete where I live?” he asked.
Council voted 7-0 to send the paving program to a second reading at its March 14 meeting.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Councilman David Janik questions mayor Mark Costilow regarding intentions to lay asphalt over concrete on some Amherst subdivision streets.