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New developments of Asphalt

Over the last 30 years, the versatility of asphalt has led to its increased use in other applications. HMA airport runways are finding increased acceptance in the United States, since they provide passengers more comfortable takeoffs and landings, dramatically cut back on runway maintenance, and allow for much faster construction time. Pavements constructed of high-durability HMA mixes are used increasingly for freight yards, where they stand up to heavy static loads.


HMA is also used worldwide as a practical solution to water storage, flood control, erosion, and conservation problems. Asphalt has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and used successfully as a primary liner for both sanitary and hazardous-waste landfills. It is also used to line drinking water reservoirs and fish hatcheries in California and Washington.


Meanwhile, the industry continues to benefit from improvements in design and production. Since the mid-1980s, the industry has developed advanced pavement materials including Open Graded Friction Course (OGFC), Superpave, and Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA), also called gap-graded Superpave. Engineering control systems placed on asphalt pavers beginning in 1997 have improved conditions for workers at the paving site.

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Pavements being built today can be engineered to meet a variety of needs — for less noise, greater durability, enhanced skid resistance, reduced splash and spray in rainy weather, and a smoother ride than ever before.


The asphalt street laid 130 years ago in Newark bore little resemblance to today's asphalt superhighways. But with the constant improvements in production and equipment, and with the continued emphasis on quality, we, too, may look back before too many years have passed and realize how much progress we have made in increasing the durability, safety, and smoothness of asphalt roadways.
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