The Twin Cities experienced a harsh winter and area drivers are now experiencing harsh roads, riddled with potholes. Last year more than 50 tons of asphalt were used to patch the region's roads, and for 2011 the amount is expected to increase.
But, this year motorists can tell local officials where those potholes are and what they should do about them. The Portland Cement Association (PCA), the voice of America's cement and concrete industry, is running billboard and bus shelter ads informing the public that asphalt roads are the most prone to potholes. The shelter ads lead viewers to a web site that sends a letter directly to mayors and public works officials informing them that choosing concrete instead of asphalt is the smart choice for roads and the best use of taxpayer funds.
Building roads with concrete, the letter says, keeps taxpayer money "where it belongs - in our community for both the long and short term - and offer[s] a more permanent solution."
Concrete roads last an average of three times longer than asphalt. In the Twin Cities metro, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) records show asphalt needs to be resurfaced every seven years and patched for potholes on an almost annual basis. A concrete pavement will last 25 years before requiring any maintenance.
As a result, concrete roads incur fewer lifecycle costs than asphalt roads, resulting in a savings for the taxpayer and less time spent in traffic due to construction delays.
According to Douglas Burns, executive director, PCA North Central Regional Office, the traditional thinking that asphalt is cheaper than concrete is no longer true. "With the rise in the price of oil, concrete now costs the same as asphalt while being more durable and out-performing asphalt. This is not just the concrete industry's facts. MnDOT's own testing has proven the performance of concrete and thin concrete overlays since 1990."
He continues, "It is time for our public officials to make lasting investments in our community, adopt a sound stewardship approach, and put an end to stop-gap repairs and deteriorating infrastructure. By using more concrete pavements we improve the overall health of Minnesota's road system, save taxpayer money, and provide for future generations."
Congestion costs the Twin Cities' residents more than just time and tax dollars. Studies have shown that in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area alone, traffic congestion wastes more than 47 million gallons of fuel each year and annual CO2 emissions attributed to congestion delays total more than .4 million metric tons.
To learn more, visit www.think-harder.org/minnesota.