County Road Managers Talk Gas Woes

HARRISON COUNTY (WLOX)-- Astronomical fuel prices are making it harder on many Mississippi counties in more ways than one. Hundreds of people are in Biloxi this week for the Mississippi Association of Supervisors convention. Among them, dozens of county road mangers all looking for ideas on how to not to let soaring gas prices hurt our roads.

Contractor crews are giving Harrison County's Longridge Road a face lift. Workers say paving projects cost a lot more these days because of high gas prices.

Ron Parker of Land Shark Incorporated said, "It's pretty much doubled, sometimes tripled the price of asphalt."

The sky rocketing cost of asphalt and other materials is being felt around the state. Some Mississippi county road managers say because of that, they're doing a lot of repaving, but not a lot of paving.

"We're going to try to do some resealing on the old roads to try to maintain infrastructure that we already have," said Panola County Road Manager Lygunnah Bean. "We're not going to do any new paving this year. [We] usually do about 60 to 70 miles a year. "

At a workshop in Biloxi, dozens of road managers shared ideas of how to get what they need done within limited budgets.

Coahoma county's road manager William Kinard said, "Some of the things that I might be going through and find challenging, somebody else might have already come up with a solution to that problem. By talking to other road managers, I find out what other folks are doing for different problems."

In the meantime, some counties are easing the pain at the pump by shortening employee work weeks, while other counties are doing repaving projects in house.

Larry Jackson is the road manager in Tippah County.

"Instead of letting contractors do it, we've hired a few guys and myself and we've put together our own paving crew. We'll be able to do about 50 percent more by us doing it ourselves."

"I'm buying bulk fuel and trying to save," said Bean. "I've got pits all over my county where I haul gravel. I'm using the gravel pits that are closest to the work area and doing things like that. Thinking out the box. "

None of the county road managers WLOX talked to Tuesday said they are laying off employees to cut costs.