MYTH: Concrete pavement costs more to build than asphalt pavement.
TRUTH: Concrete Pavement provides exceptional value over the life of the asset, and oftentimes that value can be realized at bidding time. For example, in three of the last four CDOT alternate bid projects concrete pavement had the lowest initial cost prior to the life cycle cost adjustment factor being applied, and all four of those alternate bid projects were built with concrete pavement. Notably, the SH 13 project north of Craig is a great example of a successful concrete pavement project that beat asphalt pavement in initial cost. Five years after construction the 6” concrete overlay is performing well and remains extremely smooth.
MYTH: Building with concrete takes longer than with asphalt.
TRUTH: Actual construction time for any given project is dependent on the scope. On many projects, especially the larger ones, pavement is a small portion of the overall scope. When a project includes structural aspects, such as bridges, these will be the longest duration items that drive the critical path. One benefit of constructing concrete pavement is that curb and gutter can be placed at the same time as the pavement, eliminating the need for separate operations and saving time. Concrete also has the advantage of being placed up to forty feet wide in a single pass and is placed in a single lift. The same schedule requirements can be applied to both pavement types when agencies allow competition between industries and take advantage of the alternate bid process.
MYTH: Existing pavement can’t be overlaid with concrete.
TRUTH: Concrete overlays are a cost-effective solution for extending the life of almost any pavement. They can be placed over existing concrete or asphalt and work for a multitude of different applications – urban or rural – including interstates, highways, streets, and airports. In Colorado, over 10 million square yards of concrete overlays have been constructed over the last 30 years with thicknesses ranging from less than 4” to over 12” on projects across the entire state. Building on top of existing pavement allows for faster and more economical construction with less risk of weather delays. Where raising grade is a concern, thinner concrete solutions are also available.
Contact ACPA to learn more about the value and constructability of concrete pavement, or to request our help in identifying where a concrete overlay solution would work well on your road network.
Angela Folkestad, P.E. – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Sanders, P.E. – email@example.com