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Low oil prices expected to cause lower costs for construction crews

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As oil prices continue to hover near historic lows, it’s not only having an impact on gas prices but construction costs as well.

Oil prices help dictate the price that contractors pay for the asphalt they buy to repave our roads, and with those prices so low, it’s resulting in a 10 to 20 percent reduction in asphalt costs.

However, since so many people are at home, gas tax revenue is offsetting those savings.

Also, because of the way contractors purchase asphalt, the savings mostly likely won’t be fully realized until next year — when more miles of road might be able to be paved.

KX News spoke with the Burleigh County Highway Department and they say they’ve started to budget for next year, but it’s extremely difficult right now not knowing how the economy will rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, they want to have several projects in their back pocket, in case the economy rebounds quickly.

“If our gas tax revenues, if we see an uptick in that, people are going out and stuff like that, and we’re seeing some reductions in pavement costs. We’ll be ready for that and we’ll be able to tell the board, ‘Hey, we’ve got this project we can sneak in because we see enough of a savings that we can take advantage of that now,'” said Burleigh County Engineer Marcus Hall.

Also, congratulations to Marcus, who was recently named the National Association of County Engineers Rural County Engineer for 2019.

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