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Colorado, United States Of America- The Asphalt shortage triggered in Colorado is shocking as we track causes, possibilities and risks. The limitations are so severe that even Colorado Asphalt Works, Inc., a renowned company established in Commerce City, is encouraging their employees to reschedule or cancel their shifts as a result of the scarcity. Native Colorado asphalt businesses have halted merchandising to the public and those who do sell have strict limitations. Transportation officials have declared that 34 road projects in Colorado are or will be delayed later this year.
Asphalt companies are having a difficult time securing the needed materials to produce asphalt from oil refineries. Transportation officials have released the statement that the Colorado asphalt shortage is due to the state’s oil facilities generating more diesel fuel than crude oil. With diesel fuel having proved to be a more profitable energy source, crude oil production has therefore been hit with lowered manufacturing. A shortage of the polymer styrene–butadiene–styrene that is added to asphalt to reduce cracking and rutting on roads also sits as a contributing factor.
The price of asphalt inevitably surges with supply shortage. El Paso County and Weld County in Colorado are currently encountering such a problem. The public works department utilizes asphalt and other oil-based construction materials to maintain local roads. With public and private contractors competing for prime resources such as asphalt, the demand for supplies only increases causing the county to pay higher premiums for goods and in turn impacting the entirety of the county’s budget.
Refining asphalt is initiated by heating crude oil for the initial distillation process. Once heated, the crude is relocated to a distillation container in which volatile components, known as fractions, are removed via condensing and cooling procedures. The crude is then separated to create products like gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, and other petroleum products while the heavy deposit left over from the distillation system is used to make asphalt.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration stated on Wednesday that crude oil production in the U.S. is anticipated to decrease by 210,000 barrels per day due to oil depletion among certain geographic areas in which supply was once bountiful. Although asphalt shortages are more common than assumed, the prevailing deficit is one of the largest that has occurred in the middle of a construction season.
A major construction project appropriately named “Central 70” on Interstate 70 in Colorado has been pushed back due to the sparse availability of asphalt as well as a shortfall of delivery drivers. The Colorado Department of Transportation has stated that not enough asphalt will be delivered in time for the paving raid originally planned to take place from Friday night until Monday morning. The project has been rescheduled for July 30th at 10pm through August 2nd at 5am.
Project contractors are almost finished with the middle segment of the 10 mile enterprise ranging from Colorado Boulevard to Quebec Street. Crew members had sufficient amounts of asphalt to finish paving the eastbound lanes on Monday morning.
Asphalt and paving companies alongside county public works officials are uncertain as to how long the shortage will last. The market availability of supplies is being monitored on a day to day basis but projects are anticipated to resume in either August or September. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Stacey Stegman announced that priority will be given to projects sited on heavily used roads while other projects will remain incomplete up until more asphalt can be acquired. In the meantime, county departments are working with engineers to find temporary fixes including the use of gravel.