By Saleem Ullah
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
The popularity of asphalt paved lanes for cyclists has tremendously increased over time and agencies have been working on the different techniques to provide the most economically attractive and safer tracks.
Asphalt pavements have proven to provide fast, smooth, efficient, safe and an economical construction process for bikers. Cyclists prodigiously prefer the continuous, joint-free travel that asphalt provides. This flexible pavement is softer, more forgiving, quieter, and provides the top characteristic that all users are looking for – smoothness.
Studies have shown that a dollar spent on asphalt pavements goes 25-30 percent further than a dollar spent on concrete pavements. Asphalt is a cost effective choice because it has a lower first cost than concrete and can be constructed as a “perpetual pavement”, resulting in a lower user cost.
Staged construction also helps spread out the cost of placement. Because asphalt pavement has no joints to repair and is not affected by freeze‐thaw actions, it is much less expensive to maintain.
Asphalt pavements offer high skid resistance values. The dark color of asphalt reduces glare, helps melt ice and snow, and provides a high contrast for lane markings.
Asphalt paving techniques enable to pave on minor slopes and also blended into existing landscape. Asphalt pavement lines do not detract from the natural environment.
Asphalt pavements can also be colored to preserve the natural settings; colored pavements are being used more and more frequently in modern urban development. They can offer a wide range of benefits to those involved with them, from designers and architects, to builders and local authorities and, most importantly, the public.
These colored asphalts can also contribute to improved safety, through helping to provide better control and guiding of traffic, whilst helping to improve ride comfort and reduce noise for users, when compared to concrete.
Ease of construction
Since asphalt paving is machine‐placed, there is no need for time-consuming formwork and steel reinforcement. After placement, traffic can use the pavement almost immediately – no delay is required to allow it to cure. When repairing roads, an asphalt surface is quicker and easier to complete because there is little down‐time waiting for a patch to cure.
Asphalt pavements will consistently give the driving public the smooth, quiet ride they have come to expect. Since it is machine‐placed, it has a uniform surface unsurpassed by other pavements. There are no repetitive joints, noisy surface texture, and blowups with this method of construction, all of which leads to a smoother ride as experienced by the driving public.
Asphalt pavements are quiet and data around the world shows that less noise is generated with asphalt pavements as compared to concrete roads.
Ullah is a regional technology manager for Shell Bitumen.