Cost Effectiveness

 Economic Facts


One of the most cost-effective ways to rehabilitate a worn-out concrete highway is to rubblize it, then overlay it with asphalt.
In Arkansas, 276 miles of concrete interstates were given new life in a rubblize-and-overlay program. In Arkansas, 276 miles of concrete interstates were given new life in a rubblize-and-overlay program. Rubblization makes the base into an interlocked matrix of pieces as the concrete breaks up. The asphalt overlay can even turn a failed concrete pavement into a Perpetual Pavement.


Studies have shown that on average, over a 40-year period, asphalt pavements are more economical than concrete pavements.
Using information from Kansas DOT’s databases, researchers from the University of Kansas found that rural interstates constructed of concrete cost three times as much to construct and maintain as similar asphalt interstates.


Asphalt pavements are one of our greatest renewable resources. We are Americas most recycled product.


When shingles are recycled into asphalt roads, the taxpayers reap dividends.
Tear-off shingles from houses, as well as waste shingles from factories, can be shredded and used in pavement mix. Each year, nearly 10 million tons of shingles go into landfills. If all those shingles were recycled into asphalt pavements, the U.S. could save about $1 billion worth of asphalt cement.


Recycling of asphalt pavements and asphalt shingles in 2010 alone conserved 20.5 million barrels of asphalt binder.
The asphalt industry is the country’s number one recycler. The amount of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) reused in asphalt pavements in 2010 was 62.1 million tons. Assuming 5 percent liquid asphalt in RAP, this represents over 3 million tons (19 million barrels) of asphalt binder conserved. Less than 1 percent of RAP is sent to landfills.Use of recycled asphalt shingles — both manufacturer’s waste and tear-offs — increased from 702,000 tons to 1.10 million tons from 2009 to 2010, a 57 percent increase. Assuming a conservative asphalt content of 20 percent for shingles, this represents 234,000 tons (1.5 million barrels) of asphalt binder conserved.


In just a few months, asphalt turned one of America’s seven worst roads into one of the smoothest – and did it economically.
The transformation of the “dreaded, dreadful, deadly” I-55 in Louisiana was accomplished in just seven months by rubblizing the worn-out concrete highway and using it as the base for a Perpetual Pavement asphalt overlay. Since I-55 is a hurricane evacuation route, only one lane at a time was closed to traffic. The project delivered a cloudlike ride, early completion, tremendous cost efficiencies, and a new pavement structure with a long life expectancy.


Of the 2.27 million miles of paved roads in the US, 94% is surfaced with asphalt, including 65% of the interstate system.


Asphalt pavement gives the best return on investment of any paving material.
When appropriately designed and constructed, an asphalt pavement will never need to be removed and replaced. The pavement structure will last indefinitely, so its value will also last indefinitely. With concrete, when the pavement reaches the end of its design life, it cannot be rehabilitated cost-effectively.


Road agencies such as state DOTs and city/county public works departments use Pavement type selection processes to identify the best pavement for a given application.


According to FHWA, a dollar spent on asphalt pavements goes 26.9 percent farther than a dollar spent on concrete pavements.


American taxpayers save over $1.5 billion per year by recycling asphalt.  The asphalt industry is the country’s number one recycler.


Studies in Iowa, Kansas, and Ohio showed that asphalt pavements were more economical than concrete over the study periods.
The Ohio results showed that the life-cycle costs for asphalt were less than those of the compared concrete pavements, with most of the savings in the 25 percent to 70 percent range. In Iowa, one asphalt pavement section cost only 57 percent as much as the comparable concrete pavement and another asphalt pavement cost 62 percent as much as the comparable concrete highway. In Kansas, the life-cycle costs for asphalt only were about one-third of the costs for concrete pavements.


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.
Everything can be done overnight, without inconveniencing commuters. Asphalt work can be planned so that the crews work in off-peak periods only. This means that folks may drive home from work on a Tuesday night, then find a brand-new, smooth pavement when they drive to work Wednesday morning – and they’ve never even seen an orange barrel! Only with asphalt can a “stealth contractor” give the traveling public a great new pavement, literally overnight.
When asphalt pavement is reclaimed, the stone and asphalt cement in it are just as valuable as all-new materials.
Reclaimed concrete can only be recycled as a low-strength aggregate.


America’s roads represent an asset valued at more than $2.4 trillion.

Asphalt is the cost-effective solution to maintaining and enhancing the value of our road network. Already, 95 percent of our road system is surfaced with smooth, safe, durable, quiet asphalt.

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