Rising Sun may be shopping for asphalt
— At least one Cecil County town is frustrated by the system in which asphalt is purchased.
Calvin Bonenberger, town administrator, told the mayor and commissioners that Rising Sun’s usual source for asphalt has been purchased by Allan Myers Construction.
“Allan Myers is buying up a lot of blacktop plants,” Bonenberger said. “And they are giving indications that this will be their blacktop first.”
Bill Andresen, vice president of corporate communications for Allan Myers, said of course the company is going to take care of its own needs first.
“We sell internally and externally to large construction companies and outside customers,” Andresen said.
On a daily basis, he said, the plant on Quarry Road in Elkton will make what the company’s crews need and will then take orders in advance for others, such as Rising Sun.
“But there might not be enough on hand for those short-term orders,” he said, adding that the goal is to “sell every last bit of asphalt.”
Like the other seven incorporated towns and Cecil County, Rising Sun buys asphalt for its paving and patching projects. With the arrival of colder weather, production is scaled back, Bonenberger noted.
“We have to call day to day to see if they have any available and we’ve been told, ‘No,’” he said Wednesday, adding other towns tell similar stories.
“One town had to fill a hole with crusher run and then call every day,” he said.
The result is that there is an increase in cost for the application and then removal of the stone once any asphalt becomes available.
However Dan Webber, in charge of the county roads division, said that’s how it’s always been.
“Even when it was Edgemoor (Materials), you had to call,” he said.
Brian Dolan, president of the Maryland Asphalt Association, suggested that towns consider other plants in neighboring Harford County and Delaware.
“Plenty of competition still exists,” Dolan said, adding he doesn’t understand why a company would not make a sale. “Maybe the town is not getting their proposals to these companies.”
Dolan said Allan Myers bought Edgemoor Materials two years ago, and is purchasing other plants as part of its consolidation plan.
Andresen said he had no knowledge of any new acquisitions.
Even though other companies are not in the county, Dolan said the product would stay malleable while being transported to a Cecil County job site.
“If the truck is 4-feet deep it holds the heat pretty well,” Dolan said. “It’ll stay hot a long, long time.”
However, Bonenberger said Rising Sun’s truck is not that large and the molten mass may not be usable after a drive from Aberdeen or Dover, Del.
“For us to have to bypass the regional blacktop plant doesn’t make sense,” he said, adding that with a small public works staff jobs such as pothole patching are done as needed. “We can’t schedule a week ahead of time.”
Bonenberger told the board that the answer may be for some of the towns to form a buyers cooperative for a larger group purchase.
Andresen hinted that some Allan Myers plants may have a minimum order required for purchase.