Franklin County hit a pothole in its plans to seal road cracks this summer when bids for an ingredient in the sealant were significantly higher than the $82,000 the county budgeted.
The county received two bids for delivery of 8,150 tons of the product, known as "aggregate for bituminous surface treatment" -- one from American Rock Products of Richland for about $135,000 and one from Connell Sand & Gravel of Connell for $186,000.
Commissioner Brad Peck had a simpler description for the stuff.
"So for people like me, this is the rock we mix with the oily goo to seal roads?" Peck said at a Wednesday meeting.
Peck noted the bids represented a "big gap" from the original estimate, and asked why they came in so high.
County Engineer Matt Rasmussen said the estimates were based on last year's rock prices.
"They must have gone up a bit," Rasmussen said.
"More than a bit," Peck said.
Peck suggested talking to neighboring counties to find out what they're paying and seeing if Franklin County can pair up with another county to save money on buying the rock.
"To put it into perspective, this is the better part of an employee's salary for a year -- and you don't have a body to spare," he said.
Also Wednesday, commissioners voted unanimously to initiate the second phase of improvements to the Pasco-Kahlotus Highway. The $2.2 million project involves rebuilding, widening and resurfacing the highway between Peterson Road and Levy Road.
The resolution adopted Wednesday officially adds the project to the list of county road projects, and allows the county engineer to start design work and to acquire right-of-way. The county still needs to find about $1.9 million for construction, which is planned for 2015.
w Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; email@example.com; Twitter: @mduplertch