The price of diesel fuel continues to skyrocket. Some officials who oversee public works in western Massachusetts have said it could impact road construction.

According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of diesel in Massachusetts was $6.29 a gallon on Wednesdaymore than double than a year ago.

Charles Dazelle is the superintendent of highways in Huntington, Massachusetts. He said soaring costs have had a major impact on the price of surfacing for road construction projects.

“When they make our offers, we are set at a certain price, but they have what they call escalation, so the price of fuel goes up, the price of bitumen goes up,” Dazelle said. “Right now it’s about $14 to $15 more per tonne than last July 1.”

He said this means fewer roads could be tarred and projects could be delayed, adding that even though prices are rising, state aid for motorway projects has not increased, making it difficult to management of cost fluctuations.

There is also the cost of keeping trucks and other equipment filled with gasoline. In South Hadley, Department of Public Works director Chris Bouchard said the town is ready for the spike, for now.

“We’ve been pretty good since fuel prices have been low for a long time,” Bouchard said. “Everything will be fine this year, but if it continues it will affect everyone in the long run.”

As for road projects, Bouchard predicts that costs will jump 18% when bids return. He said it might mean some work is cut back, but he hopes everything that’s planned will be done.

This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative. It was originally published by the New England public media.


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