Let’s take a different view of the environmental impact of asphalt pavements and how to improve them. When discussing how to make asphalt pavements more environmentally friendly, we often think about how we can add more recycled material to asphalt pavement or reduce the paving temperature of the hot mix asphalt that is being laid down. But what if we looked at making asphalt last longer? Wouldn’t that be the most environmentally friendly thing we could do as an industry?

If asphalt pavements lasted an extra 10 years, or 50 percent, imagine what an impact – environmentally and economically – that would have on our industry and our taxpayers. That would be 50 percent less construction congestion with cars idling or slowing and less construction equipment on job sites.

At a recent meeting I attended, the Texas Department of Transportation announced if asphalt paving can be made to last 10 percent longer, it would save that agency $170 million a year. They didn’t mention the additional impact it would have from an emissions standpoint. Just 10 percent longer-lasting asphalt pavement is a reality and should be the goal of every agency that is funding asphalt pavements.

Blacklidge is one of the leaders in longer-lasting asphalt pavements. We work hard to educate our customers and agencies on the importance of longer-lasting asphalt pavements and the cost savings and environmentally friendly impacts that are associated with them. 

It’s time for our agencies to realize these impacts and the benefits and set some goals for the industry to begin making progress and incentivizing contractors to build asphalt pavements to last longer. In 2021, Florida asphalt paving contractors gained over $800,000 in incentives for smoother rides. https://assets.noviams.com/novi-file-uploads/acaf/pdfs-and-documents/FP-committee-minutes/2022/Hewitt_Construction_Updates.pdf

Just imagine if we used this incentive approach for longer-lasting asphalt pavements. Asphalt is everywhere, and it impacts everybody. It’s time to make some improvements to extend the life of it. We can all agree on this: There are roads we wish would last at least 10 percent longer. After all, we all drive on and pay for these roads.

With climate change upon us, asphalt pavements will oxidize and weather faster than ever. 

It is important for road builders to understand the benefit of longer-lasting pavements so that they can contribute to improving pavement service life. One way would be to ensure that all roads are made of raw materials that already exhibit age resistant qualities. Blacklidge recently dedicated to this effort by developing the A-RATED (Age-Resistant Asphalt Testing and Explanation of Data) system to assess the age resistance and quality of any customer’s asphalt binder supply.

For more information on A-RATED, contact us at info@blacklidge.com.

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