What’s coming in 2014?

Looking back at the stories we covered this last year, one topic stood out to me ... sustainable road building. Today’s road building contractors are using many sustainable products including warm mix asphalt, recycled asphalt shingles and ground tire rubber. Will this trend continue? How much impact will it have?

Our sister publication, Asphalt Contractor, asked industry experts to weigh in with their predictions for the year ahead. Here’s what they had to say:

Mike Acott, President, National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA): The asphalt pavement industry has a history of working with regulatory authorities and federal agencies to develop and promote innovations that enhance the sustainability of asphalt pavements, improve worker safety, protect the environment, and save taxpayers’ money. Warm mix and recycled materials are environmentally friendly, economical and high performing. We expect these innovations to continue to grow.

Asphalt is 100% reusable, and is the most reused and recycled product in the U.S. Asphalt cement recycled from old pavements and roofing shingles replaced more than 21 million barrels of oil in 2011, saving American taxpayers more than $2.2 billion annually. The use of warm mix asphalt has also skyrocketed. But there is room for all these numbers to grow. NAPA continues to work with FHWA on promoting these innovations, and we look forward to seeing just how high the adoption rate of warm mix and the use of recycled materials can go.

Patrick Faster, President, Asphalt Recycling & Reclaiming Association (ARRA)Sustainable products like those mentioned are very much going to continue to evolve. Road construction methodologies have been a work in progress for 
100 years and will certainly continue to develop.

Scott Bergkamp, Director, International Slurry Surfacing Association (ISSA), and president/CEO of Bergkamp Inc.: Similar to the pavement preservation trend, the sustainable products trend is gaining more acceptance as time goes on. This trend will continue, and it depends upon private industry being willing to test and promote a sustainable product, the buyer agency being willing to try these products, and both parties being willing to learn and improve as these technologies become commonplace. These new materials must be cost-effective for them to be accepted. Until either of these trends reaches a tipping point, the impact will be real, but perhaps not apparent to the public.

To see what else these experts had to say, read the full article in Asphalt Contractor.

To download the latest issue (Winter 2013) of Sustainable Construction, click here.