Asphalt Pavement (sometimes called blacktop) is a combination of aggregate—stone, sand or gravel—bound together by a small amount of asphalt cement, a product of crude oil.
Asphalt cement is heated and mixed with aggregate at a special facility, and then the mix material is trucked to the construction site where it is spread and compacted into a finished pavement.
Traffic is typically permitted on a new asphalt road as soon as the pavement has cooled—a matter of hours after construction. Asphalt is smooth, quiet, sustainable, perpetual, and the most cost-effective material for our roadways.
Ninety-four percent of the roads in America are surfaced with asphalt, and it’s no surprise why. Asphalt pavements are…
- Safe. Asphalt creates the smoothest surface for driving. Smooth roads allow superior contact with vehicle tires for a safer (and more enjoyable) ride. Open-graded asphalt, a special type of road surface, can minimize splash and spray during rainstorms and reduce crashes and fatalities on highways.
- Cost-effective. Smooth roads aren’t just safer, they also save money. Reduced wear and tear on vehicles due to fewer bumps in the road brings down vehicle operating costs. Also, increasing a roadway’s smoothness by 25 percent extends its lifespan—upwards of 10 percent—which saves taxpayers money. Asphalt roads can be built more quickly and cost-effectively than other pavements as well, and they can be designed as a Perpetual Pavement that needs only periodic maintenance to remain in good shape indefinitely.
- Energy efficient. Smooth asphalt roads also reduce rolling resistance (the friction between tires and pavement), which means better fuel economy and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Special warm mix asphalt pavements can be constructed at lower temperatures, further reducing the energy required to heat asphalt materials for road construction.
- Traveler- and business-friendly. Asphalt roads can be paved just a lane at a time, minimizing disruption to citizens and reducing congestion through speedy construction processes, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars in user costs. Projects can often be completed in one short day, even overnight, leaving routes open for travelers and providing street access for stores and businesses.
- Environmentally friendly. Asphalt is the most recycled product in America. The asphalt industry reuses and recycles nearly 100 million tons of asphalt pavement a year, saving taxpayers an estimated $1.8 billion annually. Post-consumer waste such as used tires and shingles can also be reused in new asphalt pavement.
Benefits of Asphalt
National Asphalt Pavement Association Brochure
Asphalt is the sustainable material for constructing pavements. From the production of the paving material, to the placement of the pavement on the road, to rehabilitation, through reuse/recycling, asphalt pavements minimize impact on the environment.
Asphalt Pavement Alliance White Paper
Asphalt has always been and continues to be the pavement of choice for America. This brochure discussed the benefits of the product and why asphalt is right for American, right now and into the future.
Look for additional resources and materials highlighting the benefits of asphalt on our Marketing page.