10 Things You Didn’t Know About Asphalt

April 3, 2019
Our roads are part of everyday life that doesn’t get much attention. But, they should because that play a critical role in the economy and our car’s miles per gallon. Installing asphalt in your home can be a great investment and an eco-friendly option. There are a lot of great things about asphalt that most people don’t know.

1. THE FIRST USE OF ASPHALT DATES BACK THOUSANDS OF YEARS

Excavations have shown civilizations along the Euphrates river in Mesopotamia (which is now Iraq) used asphalt as far back as 3200 B.C. They used it for making buildings and protecting the inside of their surfaces. It might not have been used for roads, but they did apply it as a floor. They were quite creative and also used it to waterproof baths and drains.

2. THE FIRST ASPHALT ROAD WAS LAID IN PARIS

In 1852, using Val de Travers rock, the first asphalt road was built from Paris to Perpignan, France. The idea for the implementation was back in 1849. A Swiss engineer noticed fragments of asphalt dropping from a cart that was transporting the material. In the summer, the asphalt was compressed. The idea was applied to the new stretch of road in Paris and was well maintained for at least 60 years.

3. THE U.S. FIRST ASPHALT ROAD WAS IN 1870

Not too long after Paris applied their asphalt road, the U.S. created one too. It’s all in thanks to Belgium chemist E.J. DeSmedt. He used the European compound to produce a small road in front of the City Hall in Newark, New Jersey. In just one year, more asphalt roads appeared in Washington D.C.

4. ASPHALT IS THE MATERIAL OF CHOICE FOR PARKING LOTS

An overwhelming 90% of parking lots or areas in the U.S. are created using asphalt pavement. It is, in fact, the material of choice for most of the owners. Why? Because it’s best at stormwater management. It can handle runoff better than traditional infrastructures. That makes it more cost-effective for the owners.

5. ASPHALT IS ONE OF THE MOST RECYCLED MATERIALS IN THE WORLD

Asphalt is recyclable and is done so on a global scale. Most of the materials are natural and the binding agent can be reused. Getting the most out of a road is possible when working with asphalt because you can easily fix divots and cracks through milling. It has been suggested that reusing asphalt makes for stronger, better roads.

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6. RECYCLING SAVES AMERICAN TAXPAYERS MONEY

There is about 18 billion tons of asphalt used to pave roads across America. As we previously mentioned, it’s a cost-effective solution. But, did you know that it saves $300 million a year in taxpayer money? It’s a cheaper material that doesn’t cause as much traffic delays. “Perpetual Pavement” was created to contain all wear and tear to the outer layer. Instead of closing down roads for days at a time, pavement can be laid at night when roads aren’t experiencing much traffic.

7. ASPHALT AFFECTS THE ECONOMY

When the federal government spends money on building roads, the economy improves. With $1 billion spent on highway construction 28,000 jobs are created and supported. The jobs include 9,500 in construction, 4,300 in jobs that support the construction industry, and roughly 14,000 in jobs that are non-construction related. If the government didn’t regularly maintain these roads, the economy would dip.

8. SMOOTHER ROADS SAVE ON GAS MILEAGE

Asphalt is a smooth, sturdy surface excellent for road construction because it saves on gas mileage. In 2012, an initiative was launched to repave the roadways to make them smoother for drivers. At the time, $15 billion was spent on fuel costs and over 46 metric tons of CO2 emissions were expelled because of rough road surfaces. Repaving the roads was estimated to save 273 million barrels of crude oil annually.

9. ASPHALT HAS MANY NAMES

Asphalt is also known as “bitumen.” It’s derived from French asphalte. In most other parts of the world, it’s still referred to as bitumen. But, in America, there are a number of names it has such as:
  • Blacktop
  • Asphalt Concrete
  • Pavement
  • Pitch
  • Tarmac

10. PAVEMENT HAS THE BEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT

As long as the substructure of the asphalt is built correctly, blacktop should last decades. It has the ability to move with the changing of temperatures which makes it a better option during all four seasons. Maintenance is simple. Keeping it resurfaced will improve longevity and curb appeal. All of those factors including the ability to save on gas mileage and stormwater will improve your return on investment.For more information on how you can get quality asphalt services in Middle Tennessee, contact Roadbuilders.

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