Archive for May 2011

Warmin’ Up with Warm Mix Asphalt

The temperatures may be heating up, but the hot talk in the pavement industry is warm mix asphalt (WMA). The new technology is gaining acceptance at an unprecedented rate, 44 of the 50 states have completed WMA jobs.

The wide acceptance of WMA has been so quick because of the numerous advantages it has over hot mix asphalt, these include:
• Less environmental impact
• Less fuel use by the mixing plant
• Decreased wear on the mixing plant
• Longer haul distances, creating an extended paving season
• Increased time for compaction, leading to better densities
• Longer pavement life

Warm mix asphalt is made by using a variety of products and process to replace the heat normally necessary to produce asphalt mix. Keeping the mixing temperatures low, 50 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit less than required for traditional asphalts, results in reduced emissions and fumes and can also lead to a significant energy savings.

While the benefits are obvious, WMA does present some challenges. First, the industry hasn’t fully adapted and some job specifications do not provide for using WMA technology. With new technologies come unknowns, more studies are needed to further investigate the benefits, long-term suitability and sustainability of warm mix asphalt. For more information on WMA, visit

Source: Talking Asphalt: What About Warm Mix by Dwight Walker

Concrete vs. Asphalt: Gas Mileage Edition

The debate has waged on for years, which is better – asphalt or concrete? And as gas prices soar, some are making claims as to which material offers better gas mileage.

When it comes to gas mileage, neither asphalt nor concrete has been proven to offer better consumption. In fact, while some organizations claim that one material may offer less resistance, there are actually several factors that would have to be studied to offer conclusive results; these include difference in traffic flow, terrain, road surface , tire inflation and even driver behavior.

In the end, pavement roughness is ultimately responsible for difference in vehicle fuel consumption – so potholes are the largest problem. Americans burn about 175 billion gallons of gasoline driving about 3 trillion miles per year. According to, if roadways were only slightly smoother, we could reduce annual fuel consumption by up to 10%. Overall there is a potential for saving about 7 billion gallons of fuel annually, which would be the equivalent of taking 10 million vehicles off the road!