Oil prices cause town to suspend chip sealing

By Curtis Riggs| July 30, 2008

CAVE CREEK/CAREFREE – People traveling to and from work are not the only ones feeling pain with the recent gas prices.

Cave Creek suspended its chip-seal program until early next summer because the company that has done the petroleum-based chip sealing for many years said it would cost half again as much as the Town Council approved in March. Sunland said it would cost another $80,000 above the $161,000 the council approved. Because of the increase Town officials decided to wait until next June to do the roadwork.

“They told us oil prices affected their bid,” Abujbarah said.

Abujbarah said not going through with the chip-seal contract is a matter of principle.
“We think we had a proposal from them and they ought to stick with it,” he said. He and other Town officials are still negotiating the contract with the company. He does not anticipate a 50 percent increase in the contract for chip sealing next year.

“Our costs will be higher and we should plan for it,” he said. Labor costs should go down next year because more companies will probably bid to do the work if the downturn in the construction market continues.

Carefree officials opened bids last week to complete three downtown right-turn (deceleration) lanes. Bids for the project, which should be completed by mid-September, ranged from near $96,500 to $137,260.

Carefree street consultant Patrick Neal said Town officials were “very happy” with the $96,445.50 bid from Cactus Asphalt. (The contract jumps to $105,600 when a 10 percent contingency is added in.)

They were also surprised that nine companies bid to do the small project.

Carefree officials were also happy with the asphalt overlay on Cave Creek Road and Tom Darlington, which was completed earlier this summer.

“On balance it was not expensive, although things have been going up steadily for the last couple of years along with the gas prices,” Neal said, adding it is hard to speculate what will happen with construction costs next year.

“It will be relative to whatever oil does,” he said.