A new independent study released today by the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) and the Ready Mixed Concrete Association of Ontario (RMCAO) for the first time provides municipalities with the reference information they need to effectively compare the costs of concrete and asphalt pavements of equivalent design over their respective lifecycles. Intended as a resource for municipal engineers and roadway consulting engineers, the report, Methodology for the Development of Equivalent Pavement Design Matrix for Municipal Roadways, addresses the new reality of increased focus on both long and short-term cost efficiencies and establishes the lifecycle cost advantage of concrete pavement. It was commissioned by the two associations and prepared by the international consulting firm Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA).
“Responsible municipal politicians and staff realize they must look beyond short-term expediency to deliver value to their communities,” said CAC President and CEO Michael McSweeney. “Concrete pavement is not only more durable than asphalt, it can help municipalities reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and it provides other sustainable benefits like reduced aggregate demand, savings in truck fuel, and reduced energy consumption over the life of the pavement,” he explained. “And, as this independent study clearly shows, concrete typically has a lower lifecycle cost than asphalt for pavements of equivalent designs. This alone is an important reason for municipalities to seriously consider the use of concrete for their roadways and for taxpayers to demand that they do.”
The study provides the details behind the development of a comprehensive matrix of equivalent concrete and asphalt pavement designs for various traffic levels and subgrade strengths. It also identifies the anticipated maintenance required on the pavement structures over a 50 year period and the corresponding lifecycle cost.
“Municipalities across the province are always seeking ways to more efficiently manage their budgets and improve the performance of their roadways,” said RMCAO President John D. Hull. “We felt it was imperative to undertake this study so they could have a reference document that compares equivalent concrete and pavement designs for various traffic levels and soil conditions, and determines their lifecycle cost.”
The pavement designs presented in the study were developed using the Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) software, a robust design procedure that takes detail traffic data, environmental data and material properties of the concrete, asphalt and base / subbase materials to evaluate the performance of identified asphalt and concrete structures over a 25 year design life.