Asphalt: The overwhelming choice for America’s highways and byways

WHAT DO YOU KNOW about asphalt? If it’s little to nothing, that’s OK. We have lots of interesting asphalt-related information for you here, courtesy of the knowledgeable people at the Asphalt Pavement Alliance and other sources.

Asphalt is just one of the materials available for building pavements, but it’s a very sustainable material and, by far, the most widely used one. A whopping 94 percent of the paved roads in America — 2.27 million miles worth — is surfaced with asphalt.

There are complexities, of course, but on the most basic level, asphalt is made from stones, sand, and gravel, all held together by asphalt cement. The National Asphalt Pavement Association emphasizes that asphalt is extremely versatile. Pavement can be designed to handle any load, from passenger cars to heavy trucks; and surface mixes can be customized to absorb noise, to reduce splash and spray during rainstorms, and even to help treat rain water.

A visit to AsphaltFacts.com website will reveal nearly 130 interesting facts about asphalt pavement. With a bit of randomness, here are just a few of them:

• Asphalt has a proven track record when it comes to long life and smoothness.
• Smoother pavements extend pavement life by as much as 10 to 25 percent.
• A smooth pavement maximizes tire contact, providing more traction.
• The smoother the pavement, the lower a vehicle’s fuel consumption.
• The majority of automobile commercials are shot on asphalt.
• Routine maintenance is simply a matter of periodically milling (about every 15 to 20 years) the surface for recycling, followed by placement of a smooth new overlay.
• Resurfacing an asphalt pavement creates a road that’s smooth, durable, safe, and quiet — and just as good as new.
• An asphalt road is a “perpetual pavement.” A perpetual pavement is an asphalt pavement designed and built to last indefinitely without any structural reconstruction.
• Perpetual asphalt pavements actually been built in the United States for generations — even before engineers articulated the concept.
• Pavement engineers have been producing long-lasting asphalt pavements since the 1960s.
• Perpetual pavements are built so that only the top layer needs routine maintenance.
• Studies have shown that on average, over a 40-year period, asphalt pavements are more economical than concrete pavements.
• Asphalt pavements are one of the nation’s greatest renewable resources.
• Recycling of asphalt pavements and asphalt shingles in 2010 alone conserved 20.5 million barrels of asphalt binder.
• Asphalt pavement gives the best return on investment of any paving material.
• American taxpayers save more than $1.5 billion per year by recycling asphalt.
• When asphalt pavement is reclaimed, the stone and asphalt cement in it are just as valuable as all-new materials.
• Asphalt pavements can be built quickly, reducing traffic delays for both commuters and long-haul truckers.
• Asphalt can be constructed at night, saving commuters from costly delays.

If you’re interested, there’s so much more to learn and know about asphalt and asphalt paving, one of Tucker Paving Inc.’s primary services. Check out the resources offered by the:

Asphalt Pavement Alliance — www.asphaltfacts.com and www.driveasphalt.org
National Asphalt Pavement Association — https://www.asphaltpavement.org/
National Asphalt Pavement Association Research and Education Foundation — www.pavegreen.com
Asphalt Contractors Association of Florida, Inc. — www.acaf.org
MyAsphaltPavingProject.com — www.myasphaltpavingproject.com