Concrete is the ideal choice for environmentally sensitive and economically sustainable highways, reports nonprofit concrete technology services provider to the construction industry the Concrete Institute MD Bryan Perrie.
He says concrete should be the preferred material for roads – from highways to low-volume roads.
“Concrete highways offer exceptional longevity. There are examples of US highways that have lasted for more than five decades without the need for substantial maintenance. This long-term performance eliminates [the necessity for] frequent pavement resurfacing and rehabilitation and the consumption of valuable resources,” he adds.
Concrete roads can also be designed with pervious concrete shoulders that decrease surface- water discharge. The use of increased surface textures further enables quieter pavements with excellent skid properties, while rolling resistance is reduced on properly textured concrete roads.
Perrie explains that owing to the lighter colour of concrete roads, the energy needed to adequately illuminate roads is reduced. Also, the durability and wear-resistance of concrete pavements ensure that the surface characteristics that contribute to quiet, fuel-efficient and safe roadways remain intact for decades.
Perrie adds that concrete offers a range of benefits for the construction of low-volume roads, such as those required in the development of informal settlements.
In addition to the low maintenance costs of concrete roads, he notes that the roads are labour friendly and, therefore, are suitable for labour-based community construction.
Further, he says the skills acquired for low-volume roads can be transferred to the construction industry, adding that only simple and inexpensive construction equipment is required and local materials can be used.