Is Concrete the New Asphalt?

As oil prices rise, so does the cost of asphalt. Concrete, historically more expensive, is now becoming a viable cost competitor. Because of its lighter shade, its also been shown to contribute less to climate change.

July 9, 2009, 8:00 AM PDT

By Nate Berg


Concrete reflects more sun and cuts down on retained heat, reducing temperatures and the urban heat island effect. As the costs shift, it may become the pavement of choice.

"On the rhetorical battleground, one of the strongest anti-concrete arguments has always been: "So pricey!" But perhaps that is changing. In Minneapolis, when bids came in on a project that includes new bus lanes and wider sidewalks (on Marquette and Second Aves near the convention center, for those familiar with the local terrain) the concrete and asphalt options cost more or less the same, according to a local business paper.

The underlying trend here is that asphalt's price is closely tied to the price of oil. And when a barrel of crude when into three-digit land last year, asphalt was suddenly as expensive as concrete."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 in The Infrastructurist

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