At this time of year, it’s always fun to reflect back on where we’ve been as well as look forward to the next chapter.
First, a look at how far we’ve come in the asphalt road building industry when it comes to sustainability.
According to the latest survey of asphalt mix producers conducted by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than 75 million tons of recycled materials — primarily asphalt pavement material reclaimed from old roads and parking lots and recycled asphalt roofing shingles — was put to use in new asphalt pavement mixtures during the 2014 construction season.
The survey also found that nearly 72 million tons of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and 1.9 million tons of recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the U.S. in 2014. An additional 9 million tons of RAP were used as aggregate, cold mix and other road building activities.
Reclaiming and reusing the asphalt cement and aggregate in RAP and RAS saved about $2.8 billion in 2014 compared to the use of virgin asphalt binder and aggregates.
According to the survey, energy-saving warm mix asphalt (WMA) technologies are also continuing their ascent in popularity. In 2014, 113.8 million tons of WMA was produced — about a third of all asphalt pavement mix production. This marks a greater than 577% increase in the use of warm mix since 2009, the first year the survey was conducted.
“In 15 states, more than half of all asphalt pavement mixtures were produced as WMA, and in six of them, more than 75% was produced as warm mix. This is an incredible rate of adoption for a technology introduced just a decade ago,” says NAPA President Mike Acott.
Acott also has a lot to say about what’s coming down the road in 2016. Be sure to check out our exclusive 2016 State of the Industry Report on page ?? where Acott and other industry experts peer into their crystal balls and try to predict what lies ahead.
At press time, Congress was conferencing and compromising on what may turn into a long-term highway funding bill. Our contributors did their best to predict how having long-term funding – or not having it – will affect 2016. They also discussed trends and other challenges our industry faces.
As the saying goes, to know where you’re going, it’s always good to know where you’ve been. Enjoy your holidays & have a fantastic new year!
A copy of the full NAPA survey is available at asphaltpavement.org/recycling.