Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Asphalt the winner for most Illinois roads

A pothole repair may rupture in less than a day, requiring crews to return to the same locations again and again. An asphalt road that is resurfaced lasts eight to 15 years on average before major repairs are needed, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority is more conservative, estimating the normal life of an asphalt overlay at five to eight years.

Officials at both agencies agree that the time frame is shorter on roads that get a lot of traffic and, especially, a lot of trucks, which describes most areas in the Chicago area.

Building roads with concrete, a practice mostly limited in Illinois to expressways and toll highways, yields at least 30 years of use before requiring a major rehabilitation, authorities said.
The decision of whether to use asphalt over a concrete base or all concrete—and determining the thickness of the layers—primarily comes down to cost and the amount of vehicle traffic on a roadway. The track record in Illinois has been to spend less money upfront when a road is first built, yet exponentially more dollars over time on upkeep.

The cost to construct one lane mile of an asphalt-topped arterial street averages about $200,000, according to IDOT.

The cost to build one lane mile of a concrete expressway ranges from $285,000 to $400,000, IDOT said.

Costs in both categories vary depending on numerous factors, including the local price of materials near the work site, officials said.

Last year, IDOT spent more than $27 million patching and resurfacing roads in the Chicago area. The Illinois tollway spends about $5 million on average annually patching pavement that has not been recently rebuilt.
Posting this because of how bad the winter has been on the city's streets this year. Is it economically feasbile to use concrete on the city's major streets instead of asphalt? I wonder especially if it seems that concrete might be better in the long term than asphalt.

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