The Benefits of Asphalt (Tar)


Asphalt pavements have many advantages over pavement surfaces constructed using other materials. 90% of the roads in South Africa are surfaced with asphalt, and it’s no surprise why. Asphalt Surfaces are:

  • Safe—Asphalt surfacing offers high skid resistance and provides high contrast in color between asphalt surfacing and road markers, giving drivers better road visibility in any weather condition. . Open-graded asphalt, a special type of road surface, can minimize splash and spray during rainstorms and reduce crashes and fatalities on highways. Asphalt pavement materials also eliminate potentially dangerous and expensive pavement blowups.
  • Smooth—Asphalt pavements provide a more uniform surface unmatched by other pavements. Smooth roads are safer because rough, uneven surfaces increase driver fatigue and diminish control. Smooth asphalt roads also reduce rolling resistance (the friction between tires and pavement), which means better fuel economy and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Smooth roads allow superior contact with vehicle tires for a safer (and more enjoyable) ride.
  • Cost-Effective—Smooth roads aren’t just safer, they also save money. Reduced wear and tear on vehicles due to fewer bumps in the road brings down vehicle operating costs. Also, increasing a roadway’s smoothness by 25% extends its lifespan—upwards of 10 percent—which saves taxpayers money. Asphalt roads can be built more quickly and cost-effectively than other pavements as well, and they can be designed as a Perpetual Pavement that needs only periodic maintenance to remain in good shape indefinitely.
  • Quiet—Roadway noise is a distraction in your car and at home. Asphalt roads can reduce highway noise by as much as seven decibels. For scale of reference, reducing noise by just three decibels is the equivalent to doubling the distance from the source of the noise to the listener. Asphalt roads also reduce the need for costly and unsightly sound barriers, often exceeding $2 million per mile.
  • Traveler and business friendly—Asphalt roads do not require curing time or extensive site preparation and traffic is permitted as soon as the rollers are finished. They can be paved just a lane at a time, minimizing disruption to citizens and reducing congestion through speedy construction processes, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars in user delay costs. Projects can often be completed in one short day, even overnight, leaving routes open for travelers and providing street access for stores and businesses.
  • Environmentally friendly— Asphalt requires 20% less energy to produce and construct than other pavement materials. Post-consumer waste such as used tires and shingles can also be reused in new asphalt pavement, reducing landfill space and conserving natural resources.
  • Attractive—Many hours are spent designing aesthetically pleasing infrastructure and great curb appeal starts with an asphalt pavement. A new road is an investment in the appearance of our communities and in the safety of our citizens. Asphalt pavements have no built-in, unsightly cracks. They blend with and enhance the natural surroundings.
  • Durable—Asphalt pavements have long lives. All asphalt pavements have a bridging action and are flexible, which means they can withstand occasional overloads without serious damage. They can be designed to suit any conditions of traffic, soils, and materials. Asphalt only needs periodic maintenance to remain in good shape indefinitely.


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