Concrete pro urges Va. to consider more concrete pavement

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) spends only 7.6% of its paving dollars on concrete, as opposed to asphalt, and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Concrete Paving Association wants a bigger piece of the action.

Pitching the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) Wednesday Executive Director Robert R. Long Jr., outlined four “opportunities” for the state to stretch its transportation dollars.

Consider the concrete alternative. Concrete is price competitive today on the basis of up-front costs, and even more advantageous when viewed on a life-cycle basis. Rt. 316 in Accomack County, built with concrete in 1940, will be undergoing only its third major repair in 2013.

Use alternate design bids. Don’t specify asphalt only. Create a design alternative that uses concrete. A healthy two-pavement system creates more competition. Alternate bidding is used in 21 states to bring down costs.

Balance the state’s “pavement portfolio.” When building a new road or highway, use a mix of asphalt and concrete so that different sections are due for maintenance in staggered intervals, say, one-third in five years, one-third in ten, and one-third in 15. That evens out the long-term maintenance costs.

Utilize new pavement technologies. Take advantage of new techniques for patching old concrete pavement that can bring down costs.

Concluded Long: “Don’t be satisfied with the status quo.”