Built to Last: Arteries Made with Asphalt
It is no surprise that most of our roads and streets are made with asphalt. Asphalt roads are more flexible to build and easier to maintain than roads using any other material. They are more cost-effective in both construction and maintenance and help reduce noise pollution. Asphalt roads are durable and are 100% recyclable. And asphalt is not just used in road surfaces: it is also a vital component of the substructure of the road, as well. And, of course, without bitumen there would be no asphalt.
One recent advance has been the development of coloured or textured asphalt surfaces. These can be used as a safety mechanism to make it easier for drivers to identify special lanes including bus lanes, bus stops and cycle paths. Coloured asphalt is also used to alert drivers to dangerous areas, such as hidden junctions or sharp bends, as well as areas requiring special safety precautions, such as outside schools.
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Asphalt surfaces can be tailor-made to support the traffic load and climatic conditions of any location. There are asphalt solutions for motorways, urban, suburban and rural roads, and different solutions for high-load and bridge surfaces. In areas where roads are exposed to winter freezing and thawing, asphalt surfaces can be built to cope with extreme temperature differences, thanks to the flexibility of bitumen.
Asphalt roads can be constructed very quickly, and because asphalt effectively needs no “cure” time, motorists can use a new road soon after placement. Because of the way asphalt roads are built, they can be easily removed and resurfaced almost immediately. This is very important in urban environments where cables and pipes need to be laid or replaced under the street, as well as for general road maintenance, filling in potholes and even more so for our major trunk roads. Safe and smooth roads, with minimum delays.
Built to Last
Modern asphalts roads have shown to last for over 40 years and, with the correct maintenance, they can and do last even longer. Each road is built with a structurally solid base course and a protective, replaceable surface or wearing course. The layered structure is built to withstand traffic and the environment.
Modern asphalt technology ensures rapid drainage of surface water, reducing water spray and improving driver visibility in wet conditions. This reduces the risk of aquaplaning and increases the visibility of road markings. The surface texture ensures maximum grip and delivers optimal turning and braking performance, in all weather conditions. Asphalt surfaces that provide higher levels of skid resistance can be used where safety is paramount, for example on slip roads, junctions and roundabouts.
Asphalt road surfaces can significantly reduce noise both inside and outside the car. Standard asphalt roads have the lowest noise levels of all traditional road surfaces and the more recent development of porous and silent asphalts have reduced noise levels even further. A standard asphalt surface produces half the noise compared to alternatives options such as concrete, and porous asphalt reduces this by a further 50%.
Asphalt is 100% recyclable and reuseable. Recovered asphalt is routinely re-laid along with fresh materials, saving money and preserving non-renewable natural resources. Recycling also reduces the use of virgin quality gravel, reduces landfill and saves both cost and emissions for transport.