Franklin, Harrietstown share cost of Asphalt Zipper

VERMONTVILLE – Highway department crews from the towns of Franklin and Harrietstown got a lesson Monday in how to use a new road asphalt grinding machine the two towns recently purchased jointly.

The Asphalt Zipper, which with its trailer and accessories cost about $165,000, will allow the towns to mill and repave their roads in-house, without having to hire a contractor or rent a similar machine.

Harrietstown Highway Superintendent Craig Donaldson said it could cost the town $40,000 a mile to have a contractor grind a road.

“In four years, this will have paid for itself,” he said. “It just didn’t make sense for them to own one and for us to own one.”

The machine attaches to the bucket of a front-end loader, which lowers it to the ground and pushes it across the pavement, grinding into the road’s sub-base.

The town of Franklin is planning to use the machine this summer to grind and repave a roughly one mile section of Fletcher Farm Road. Harrietstown Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua said the town is planning to mill portions of Kiwassa Road either next year or the year after.

“This will be a valuable piece of equipment to have when we do that,” he said. “When you rent, you’re just throwing money away. This saves Harrietstown taxpayers’ money. It saves Franklin taxpayers’ money.”

Town of Franklin Supervisor Art Willman said three towns in northern Franklin County also recently bought an Asphalt Zipper.

“They’ve saved themselves a lot of money,” he said. “They’ve gotten a lot of road grinding done. There’s no problems between the towns in terms of scheduling the machine. I anticipate no problems between us and Harrietstown. It’s a great deal for both towns.”

The two towns are splitting up the cost of the machine in five installments, with each town responsible for two-and-a-half payments.

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or