Cost of Paving Projects Skyrockets

Chattanooga (AP) -- The rising cost of oil and the strong demand for concrete have put the brakes on some Tennessee highway projects.

Transportation officials are using some different techniques to stretch funding that's inadequate to pay for the projects that have been planned.

TDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Osborne says a lane-mile cost as much as $45,000 to pave in 2005. Those costs have increased to as much as $70,000 per lane-mile today.

To combat the rising costs, officials are using a thinner application of asphalt, which also goes down faster.

There is also roller-compacted concrete, which costs about the same as asphalt, but which officials say lasts twice as long. Grinding up the old surface and reusing the materials also helps reduce the costs.

A dozen construction projects over 56 miles of highway throughout the state have been delayed. Department spokeswoman Julie Oaks says no projects will be canceled.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved

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