Green Your Asphalt Parking Lot

07/26/2013 | Jason T. Brazer

Use perpetual pavement to lengthen service life and reduce raw material use

Instead of fully replacing your asphalt parking lot every 20 years, use perpetual pavement design. This sustainable approach allows you to resurface a few inches as needed, ultimately extending the aphalt’s life to 50 years. The process is also green because it reduces the amount of waste materials headed to the landfill.

Can your asphalt parking lot last 50 years?

Most facility managers are unaware that asphalt pavement can have a service life of more than five decades with the appropriate design, good construction practices, and timely preventive maintenance.

Called perpetual pavement, this design and rehabilitation approach provides a sustainable strategy that extends the lifecycle and performance of your asphalt while decreasing reconstruction costs and natural resources.

Proper Pavement Design
According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, perpetual pavement is “an asphalt pavement designed and built to last longer than 50 years without requiring major structural rehabilitation or reconstruction and needing only periodic surface renewal in response to distresses confined to the top of the pavement.”

Perpetual Pavement at a Glance

Perpetual pavement is a design and resurfacing method that is an alternative to asphalt reconstruction. This sustainable method offers facility managers a variety of benefits:
  • Extends the life of your pavement to 50 years instead of 15-20.
  • Costs 65-80% less than a full replacement.
  • Reduces the use of natural resources required.
  • Results in fewer construction delays.
Following good pavement design practices helps your asphalt reach its design service life. In far too many cases, the general practice is to use the same specification regardless of goals, budget, available materials, location, environment, subbase, or traffic use.

For your perpetual pavement to meet your goals, you must first address the structure and foundation, which work in conjunction to allow the pavement to be perpetual. A proper base will allow you to resurface as needed for added years of service.

Pavement Foundation
The key to long-term performance of any pavement system is a solid foundation. Without the right base, the upper layers of a perpetual pavement system are bound to fail.

Two areas of failure that need to be accounted for are structural rutting and fatigue cracking. Structural rutting occurs when the overall strength of the pavement has degraded to the point that deformations can take place in all of the asphalt layers and even transfer into the crushed aggregate base or the subgrade layer.

Fatigue cracking is also evident in today’s traditional pavements. This failure is when cracking occurs from the bottom up through the surface course. This can lead to pumping, rutting, and accelerated surface deterioration.

A properly designed foundation consists of a variety of components, such as modified or unmodified soils or crushed aggregate and recycled products like crushed concrete or milled asphalt.

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