According to LAFARGE, in 2014, Nigeria was estimated to have lost N300 billion to bitumen importation. Now, with biting foreign exchange scarcity, dwindling revenue, and prevailing economic recession, experts have called for the use of concrete to build roads rather than bitumen. In this article we take a look at the advantages of Concrete road over Asphalt road
In recent times, there have been calls for more investment in concrete roads, which professionals say can save the government several billions of naira due to their longevity and low maintenance qualities.
Hot mix asphalt is made of aggregates (stone, sand, gravel) and liquid asphalt, the oil-based glue which is the glue that holds everything together. Concrete is made from materials such as limestone, rock and water. Concrete is also the most-used man-made material in the world.
Concrete roads have a long service life of forty years, whereas asphalt roads last for ten years. Moreover, during this service life concrete road do not require frequent repair or patching work like asphalt roads.
So paving with concrete means less need for maintenance over the life of your street.
Areas paved with asphalt require more maintenance than those paved with concrete. As a result, there is less need for repair crews to handle maintenance of concrete streets and parking lots. This means less congestion and disruption to work areas, and less danger to road crews and drivers alike.
Invariably, while a concrete street would need little maintenance over a 30 year period, an asphalt street would require a major resurfacing in just 15 years.
Rigid concrete is also more durable than asphalt. This means that streets paved with concrete are less likely to have potholes. The surface of concrete is also better at preventing automobile skidding, keeping drivers and their families safe.
Since concrete pavement requires less repair and maintenance over time, less energy and fuel is needed for heavy construction equipment.
A vehicle, when run over a concrete road, consumes 15-20% less fuel than that on asphalt roads. This is because of the fact that a concrete road does not get deflected under the wheels of loaded trucks.
By reducing the amount of fuel used by cars, trucks and maintenance equipment, we reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Not only that, but trucks use less fuel when traveling on concrete. That keeps the cost of transporting goods down, and it means lower emissions from vehicles.
Unlike asphalt roads, concrete roads do not get damaged by the leaking oils from the vehicles or by the extreme weather conditions like excess rain or extreme heat.
Also, asphalt (bitumen) produces lots of highly polluting gases at the time of melting it for paving. Also, less fuel consumption by the vehicle running on a concrete road means less pollution.
Asphalt (bitumen) is produced from imported petroleum, the reserve of which is becoming reduced drastically. On the other hand, concrete (cement) is produced from abundantly available limestone. Concrete is 100% recyclable, and the most recycled construction material in the world. So rather than ending up in your state’s landfills, it can be broken down and used in new pavement, or for other construction purposes.
This makes concrete road a better option.
Though the durability of Asphalt road is highly questionable. Heavy rain and other extreme weather conditions damage the asphalt road, and the roads need to be repaired frequently.
Melting asphalt produces lots of harmful green-house gases. Also costly petroleum is required to produce asphalt.
As you probably already know, it’s best to wear bright or white clothing if you want to reflect the sun on hot days. Dark colors absorb more heat, and the same applies to paving materials. Concrete is light, and naturally reflective. Asphalt is black, and absorbs more heat.
So what difference does all that really make?
For concrete paving, the areas around the pavement is kept cooler. A study (Stark 1986) also proved that work areas with concrete pavement required less lighting than asphalt pavements.
Since lighter colored pavement reflects indoor light better, it means you get the same visibility, but with less lights needed.
That study also pointed out that with less lights, there would be more money saved when it came time to install, operate, or maintain them. And as most people know, less lighting means less heat, and less need to run the air conditioner.
For businesses that operate at night, having a concrete parking lot means better lighting, and increased safety. Not only will it be easier for people to see, but a parking lot with better visibility can make people feel safer, which makes your business more inviting.
In conclusion, concrete roads are highly durable and more environmentally friendly as compared to asphalt roads. However, asphalt road provides a little better safety of the vehicle against snow and skidding due to the fact that in rainy and the winter season, vehicles tend to slip or slide on concrete road due to rain and snow.
So Which Building Material is Right for You?
When it comes to safety, durability, and environmental impact, concrete paving is obviously the best choice for street paving and construction.