3 Ways Your City's Asphalt Choice Could Affect Your Commute

Posted on: 22 December 2014

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When most people hear about city council meetings, they don't usually mark their calendars and make a date out of it. Although listening to long, drawn-out discussions about asphalt might not sound like a good time, the type of road your city decides to install can directly affect your drive into work everyday.  Here are three ways your city's asphalt choice affects your commute, and why you should think about voicing your opinion.  

1: Drier Roads

Nothing is worse than leaving for work a few minutes late, and then dealing with wet, slick roads during your commute. As you struggle with limited visibility, flowing water or black ice slicks can make it easy to slide into a ditch. If you make it to work in one piece, you might find yourself exhausted from the stressful drive, and wishing there was a way to keep those roads safe and dry.

Fortunately, if your city upgrades their roads by adding porous asphalt, a little rain and snow might not cause as many problems. Porous asphalt is covered with a layer that allows water to wick away from the surface. Instead of moisture being able to sit on the roadway and freeze into solid, dangerous ice sheets, water drains through to an open-graded stone bedding material, where it is rerouted into the surrounding soil. In addition to keeping the roads drier, porous asphalt can also reduce road spray from passing cars, which can improve visibility.  

If you live in an area prone to bad weather, encourage your city to install porous asphalt. By talking with your friends and attending a few town hall meetings, you might be able to prompt your city to make great roadway decisions, which could help you to stay safer during your commute.

2: Noise Reduction

To pass the time during a long commute, you might make a few calls with your hands-free phone or turn up the radio. Unfortunately, returning a few phone calls or singing along to your favorite song might not be as easy if you have to deal with loads of road noise. As your tire treads hit the pavement, it can create a lot of noise that resonates into your car. However, if you are lucky enough to live in an area that uses rubberized asphalt, you might be able to enjoy a quieter ride.

Rubberized asphalt contains ground up tire pieces, which absorb roadway sound. Although it might not seem like an effective way to keep the noise levels down, one study conducted by the Arizona Department of Transportation showed that rubberized asphalt reduced roadway noise by up to 12 decibels. To put that number into perspective, an increase of about 10 decibels will make something sound twice as loud.

As you drive around town, turn off the radio and listen to the road. You might be surprised to notice distinct noise level differences between roadways, depending on how the ground is treated. If you enjoy a quiet, serene commute, take the time to write your city a thank-you note for the rubberized asphalt.

3: Less Damage

During your commute, you might not have a helpful passenger to warn you about upcoming roadway damage like potholes. If you accidentally drive into one of those dangerous divots, you could end up dealing with popped tires, body damage, or a serious accident.

However, if your city ever decides to install perpetual pavement, you might not have to deal with as much road damage. Perpetual pavement consists of multiple layers of asphalt built over a flexible base. Because the roadway can flex slightly, cracks are less likely to form, which can keep potholes at bay. Also, because the road is composed of several asphalt layers, roadways can be maintained or restored without removing the entire structure.

Because perpetual pavement is less susceptible to damage, it can last as long as 50 years. If you hear that your city is mulling over the idea of installing perpetual pavement roadways, consider writing letters to your city representatives and encouraging them to have it installed. You might be able to avoid scary roadway obstacles and deal with less construction.

Instead of ignoring the discussion about pavement, make your voice heard. The right asphalt choice can make your driving regimen more enjoyable, and help you to return home safely at the end of the day.  

Visit a site like http://www.lakeridgepaving.com to learn more about local paving options.