Teach Me About Pavement

September 19, 2011 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

That headline surely ought to win the “Most Boring Headline Of The Week” award.

So I’ve been watching the Pioneers Boulevard construction that’s been going on throughout the summer. The added center turn lane is a nice bonus, and I can’t wait for the bouncy, holey, washboardy section from 48th to 56th to be smoothed out.

What I don’t understand is why they’re putting in all this work and yet they’re surfacing with blacktop. Why aren’t they laying down fresh concrete? I plead total ignorance here so please don’t mock me too harshly. Is this purely a cost issue? Is this blacktop some sort of Magic Blacktop that isn’t going to fall apart in five years?

These questions don’t apply only to Pioneers Boulevard, of course. Pioneers just happens to be the street closest to my house that’s receiving this treatment. I’ve seen it happen in plenty of other spots around town over the years.

Can you enlighten me?

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The Comments

Fletch September 19, 2011 at 2:02pm

I think it’s a fair question. I often have wondered the same thing. I used to drive west on I-80 somewhat regularly, and wondered why 90% of it is concrete, and yet some sections have asphalt. I am sure there is a reason, but I don’t know what it is.

JT September 19, 2011 at 3:31pm

It is a cost reason, concrete is much more expensive than asphalt. Along the lines of 30-50% more. 
Asphalt (depending on climate, traffic, soil/conditions) has a less design life though, and requires more maintenance than cement during that time.  Something along the lines of 1/2 the lifespan of a concrete road.  (and as we all know, during the last part, driving on it is miserable) 
Like anything else in the world, it comes down to cost. So I give pioneers 8 good years and then several more miserable years of driving home.  The worst is going to be O st from 16th to 24th or whatever, such a high traffic road seems really dumb to use asphalt….

Mr. Wilson September 19, 2011 at 4:04pm

Does it take any longer to prepare a surface for concrete versus asphalt? I know concrete takes longer to “cure” (or whatever) after it’s put down, but I’m curious about the prep time before it gets to that point.

foxspit September 19, 2011 at 7:34pm

This project is taking for-EVER! I’m beginning to wonder if they are burying pharaohs in there.

peter September 19, 2011 at 9:30pm

They seem to have bitten off more than they can chew.  The Antelope Valley Parkway intersecting K through O only has people working there about 1/2 the days of the week. 

And the drainage and resurfacing of L street seems to have been in process for 9 months or more.

foxspit September 20, 2011 at 7:23pm

In the last week or two I read that LES decided to bury some cable in Antelope Valley project you’re talking about. They joined the party a little late, but at least they aren’t ripping up brand new pavement to bury some transmission lines.

I’m guessing that has slowed things with that project.

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