Asphalt supply chain issues delay county road projects

Published on July 22, 2021

Construction equipment on WCR 78 north of WCR 120

The Weld County Department of Public Works asks for patience and understanding from residents after learning that several road projects will face indefinite delays in completion due to issues related to asphalt supply.

“This is as frustrating for us as it is for those traveling on our county roads,” said Mike Freeman, Commissioner Coordinator for the Weld County Department of Public Works. “However, this disruption in materials is not only affecting Weld County but several state projects as well, so we ask our residents to be understanding with us on our current road closures while we wait for our asphalt supply to be replenished.”

“The asphaltic cement shortage was identified and relayed to Public Works by our contracted asphalt material suppliers. We’ve been told the delay is related to a lack of refined oil being allocated and delivered to asphalt plants, which is delaying the ability of the asphalt plants to produce the materials needed to complete county construction projects,” said Jay McDonald, Director of the Weld County Department of Public Works.

Public Works Deputy Director Curtis Hall explained the lowered asphaltic cement (AC) supply allocations are having a direct impact on the county’s petroleum-based construction; mainly projects requiring paving. He said the department has faced asphalt shortages before, but this is the largest that’s occurred in the middle of the construction season in recent years. He said the department will  learn more about how long the low AC supply will last in the coming days, but said once production resumes it could take up to four weeks to have enough supply to catch back up with demand, meaning county projects may not resume until August or September. The pause on construction means roads currently closed will remain closed longer than originally planned.

While several projects will be delayed, Hall identified many as top priorities when paving can resume including a full depth reclamation project on Weld County Road (WCR) 43, a bridge redecking on WCR 20.5 between WCR 1 and 7 as well as an overlay project on WCR 59.

“We’re thinking it’ll be the end of August or maybe the beginning of September until we can start paving again,” Hall said, explaining that pushing back completion dates may delay projects scheduled for next year. “We understand residents’ frustration, but this is an industry-wide shortage. We’re all in the same situation.”

Click the PDF to learn more about Weld County road closures and construction projects.

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