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County purchases hot box asphalt reclaiming trailer


At the April 16 meeting of the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC), the board approved the purchase of a hot box asphalt reclaiming trailer for the Road and Bridge Department at a cost not to exceed $53,608.

At a BoCC work session earlier in the day, Road and Bridge Manager Eric McRae presented the concept of purchasing the trailer to the board.

He explained that the trailer would allow for hot asphalt patching, compared to the current county method of using cold patching.

McRae commented that, in the two to three weeks he has held his position, Road and Bridge staff have frequently revisited the same potholes to perform repeated patching.

“The hot box trailer will allow us to recycle material that has solidified and it will perform a permanent patch versus a temporary patch,” he said.

He stated that he provided the BoCC with five quotes, but that the preferred vendor for the trailer is Denver Industrial Sales and Services.

McRae added that the trailer would also reduce the number of staff needed for patching from five to two to three.

He noted that purchase is unbudgeted, but would be paid for from the department’s Road Capital Improvement (RCI) Patching Capital Outlay budget, which contains about $250,000.

He also indicated that the trailer would be available in two to three weeks once the purchase is approved.

Commissioner Ronnie Maez asked how the trailer would be different from a “pothole-filling machine” that the county purchased but could not use.

McRae explained that device heats tar for crack sealing and that the county would prefer to contract for such crack sealing about every five years instead of owning the equipment, describing the maintenance for it as an “awful process.”

He stated that the hot box trailer can take regular asphalt that is seized up or damaged, reheat it and have it ready for application in two to three hours.

In response to a question from Maez, McRae indicated that the trailer could use regular asphalt which the county could purchase for patching and dump out of the trailer and reheat later if it is not used.

He explained that the cold patching the county currently performs is designed for “temporary use,” while the hot patching the trailer could perform is more permanent.

He added that the trailer also includes a hoist for the compactor being used on patches, reducing risk to staff and the potential for worker’s compensation claims.

McRae noted that it is also easier to use than the current cold-patching method and will not require “four to eight people” to perform patches that last for as little as a few days or weeks.

He commented that the county should be getting “years” out of its asphalt patches.

Commissioner Veronica Medina asked what the origin and availability of the RCI patching funding was.

County Manager Derek Woodman explained that it is a separate county budget for asphalt patching and that the hot box trailer purchase is not included in this budget, although there are funds available in this budget.

Commissioner Warren Brown asked what the life expectancy of the trailer would be.

McRae replied that it should last for more than 20 years without significant maintenance, adding that the trailer is a “simple unit” with a double axle trailer, a diesel burner for heating asphalt, a dumping container for asphalt, a removable propane burner assembly, a removable tack tank and sprayer, and a hoist for a compactor.

He stated that the tack is a liquid tar that would be sprayed on the sub-base of the roads prior to the application of asphalt.

“It’s not a very intricate unit,” he said, stating that the most complicated piece of equipment on the trailer is the diesel burner.

He added that the current approach is “not productive” given the amount of staff time involved and the short time that patches remain in place.

At the BoCC meeting, prior to voting to approve the purchase of the trailer, Brown pointed out that the machine would allow for longer-lasting patches, while Maez commented that it will not require a specialized aggregate.

Medina commented that she is “very happy” that McRae proposed the purchase as she has heard a number of comments from constituents questioning why the county does not purchase the equipment necessary to perform long-lasting patches.

“Our staff is looking forward to this purchase,” McRae commented.

The board then voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

Paving contract and change order

At a special BoCC meeting on April 22, the board approved two items related to county construction work, including the contract for the North Pagosa Boulevard resurfacing project — which will resurface North Pagosa Boulevard from U.S. 160 to Bastille Drive and a portion of Navajo Trail Drive — and a change order for the construction of the county transit center.

Public Works Director Mike Torres explained that the contract for the North Pagosa Boulevard project was awarded to Four Corners Materials on April 2 and that the contract documents were before the BoCC for approval.

The commissioners asked no questions and unanimously approved the contract.

The board then considered a $35,043.36 change order for rock removal as part of the construction of the county transit facility in Harman Park.

Woodman explained that the change order was for chemical rock excavation of approximately 76 cubic yards of rock underneath the building site.

Brown asked Woodman if it was correct that the county expected to have issues with the rock at the building site prior to the project beginning.

Woodman stated that the issues with the rock were expected, but that rock was nearer to the surface than hoped.

He added that the chemical excavation process or blasting were discussed, but that the chemical excavation approach was chosen because it would be more cost effective.

The board unanimously approved the change order.