That stretch of road that has gotten bumpier and bumpier through the years, that is a mixture of patched potholes and tar lines, can become smooth and pleasant again with as asphalt overlay. Or it could be replaced with an entirely new asphalt road—-if the state can afford it.

The decline of dollars for Missouri road building and maintenance has steepened because of the huge incline in the costs of a critical material. The transportation department says it takes about four-thousand tons of asphalt to resurface one mile of highway. And what is the key ingredient of asphalt? A special kind of oil….You know the story of oil prices..Department spokesman Jeff Briggs says asphalt cost a little less than $36 a ton in 2004. The most recent bids came in at $67 a ton.Those asphalt price increases are driven by the price of the special oil that acts as a binder for the other materials used in building the road. Briggs says that oil has gone from 300-dollars a ton in January to almost 600-dollars a ton now. Higher oil prices mean higher asphalt prices, meaning that mile of road that cost 144-thousand dollars to resurface a few years ago now costs 268-thousand dollars to resurface. The department uses about three-and-a-half million tons of asphalt a year. The higher oil prices have driven up the costs of asphalt to the state by one-billion dollars.

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