County’s road maintenance team taps liquid asphalt tanks

The recent addition of three 15,000-gallon liquid asphalt tanks gives Pierce County more control over the management and supply of liquid asphalt needed for chip seal and pavement resurfacing applications on county roads.

Last year’s unexpected asphalt shortage impacted county road maintenance programs and prevented some scheduled resurfacing from taking place. The on-site storage capacity provided by the tanks will improve daily production and allows the county to avoid delay and damage costs incurred when supplies are delivered directly from contracted tanker trucks.

The tanks are accessible to transporters at any time day or night, providing more certainty in arranging for deliveries.

The county also benefits by creating a more reliable system that appeals to asphalt suppliers, which will result in better bid prices and reduces the likelihood of being affected by future material shortages.

The $1 million price tag for the tanks is expected to be recouped in improved efficiencies and cost savings within seven years. The tanks will continue to provide significant savings throughout their fifty-year service life.

The first load of liquid asphalt was delivered last week. Public Works and Utilities Director Brian Ziegler was on hand to officially open the tanks for business.The county applies about one million square yards of chip seal per year on average, which is equal to the placement of just under 500,000 gallons of liquid asphalt.