Did you know? Studies show that on average, over a 40-year period, asphalt pavements cost less than concrete pavements. Results showed that rural interstates constructed with concrete cost three times as much to construct and maintain as asphalt. 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. Read the entire report here or skip to page 31 for supporting evidence. University of Kansas report.
In a document that was written after the KU study Gisi, P.E. (2002) found that concrete interstates cost 3 times more than asphalt interstates to construct and maintain. Read his report here, The KDOT Report. It should be noted that Andrew Gisi, P.E. is no longer employed by the Kansas DOT and the Department does not endorse the findings of the report.
Asphalt is the most cost-effective pavement type
Today’s current national and local economic conditions – combining reduced funding with high infrastructure needs – have elevated the importance of prudent spending. Decision makers exercising good stewardship practices can easily justify their decisions and choices to their constituents. Good stewardship practices include a detailed, logical and documented pavement type selection process that includes a life-cycle cost analysis as a key component.
Pavement type selection, or PTS, is the process that identifies the best pavement structure for a given application. Road agencies such as state DOTs and city/county public works departments use PTS processes, which may be as simple as specifying a certain type of pavement on the basis of traffic level, or as complicated as assigning weighting factors to more than a dozen characteristics and evaluating the outcome through a scoring system.
The APA’s white paper on pavement type selection provides guidelines that agencies and others will find valuable.
The APA has developed life-cycle cost analysis software that uses the principles recommended by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to compare the economics of alternative designs for a given road project. It’s easy to use, unbiased, and free. There are two versions: LCCA Original, a comprehensive program, and LCCAExpress, geared toward less-complex projects. Both are available as free downloads.
Asphalt not only has lower initial costs, it’s more cost-effective in the long run. Asphalt can be built quickly and because it’s durable, safe, easy to maintain and 100% recyclable. On every level asphalt is more cost-effective than any other material for the entire life cycle of the pavement.