Highway Dept Looks Ahead to Road Work Season

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 6, 2023 at 2:39pm

As temperatures are feeling a bit more like spring the next few days, the Morgan County Commissioners were looking ahead to summer this morning.

The commissioners approved the acceptance of the local public agency material proposal with the Illinois Department of Transportation during their regular meeting today.

Morgan County Highway Engineer Matt Coultas says the 2023 motor fuel tax proposals will go out this week for the letting process of bids for road work material for the coming season. “It’s been submitted to the state for review so hopefully it will hit their contractors bulletin this Thursday, run for three weeks, and then we are planning on opening bids at 10:00 am on March 1st.”

The proposals cover materials used for roadworks such as oil and aggregate. Coultas says the continued price increases since the pandemic continues to be concerning, however, that could be easing a bit this year.

Actually I’ve heard recently that some of the oil prices were down a little bit. However, with the extent of the increases last year, we’re still not back down to where we were the previous years. But, it always seems like it’s market-driven so we’ll see what we get on March 1st.”

Coultas says one thing the highway department is not short on currently is road salt. He says the mild winter means the county’s bins are pretty full, with more scheduled to arrive soon. “We do our contracts in the March/April time frame with the state for our salt, and it’s always a guess or guesstimate on what we have to bring in. Of course we have numerous other entities that come and use the salt from the highway department.

But we have to take our best guess and see what we come up with, and unfortunately, we’re under eighty percent guaranteed contracts. So if we’re full up, then we’ll have to find a little extra storage space. But I think the way we are sitting right now, I think we’re doing pretty well. But we really have enjoyed these last few winter months we’ve had here, and the lack of winter weather.”

In other business, the commissioners approved just over $57,000 in bills for the period. Commissioner Chair Ginny Fanning noted a few that included $9,300 for the county’s quarterly ESDA payment, and just over $10,400 to the Jacksonville Journal-Courier for the County Assessor’s Publication.

Fanning also reminded those in attendance that the Morgan County Courthouse will be closed for the next two consecutive Mondays in observance of Lincoln’s Birthday and President’s Day.