Tarmac (or asphalt) is made up of a combination of materials such as stone, sand and gravel; bound together by a cement product of crude oil.
It is heated and mixed together at a speciality factory, and is then transported and poured as a hot, bituminous liquid. After transportation, the mixture is normally levelled and compacted to create smooth, strong road and pavement surfaces.
Before the finished product can be used, or driven on, it needs to be allowed to cool for a few hours after construction. However, once it has cooled, traffic can immediately resume as per usual. Most modern roads across the world are now constructed out of tarmac, and with the amount of benefits that it has - this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Having said this, here are some of the biggest advantages of tarmac paving:
The material used in this mixture creates a smooth surface and makes driving a breeze. The smoothness allows tires to have greater contact with the surface of the road and makes for a safer experience on the roads.
There are also particular types of asphalt that minimise the slick, splash and spray that is often encountered on the roads during thunderstorms and cold, rainy seasons. This increases vehicle safety and decreases highway accidents and fatality.
Having smoother roads doesn’t just make roads safer, they also bring down the cost. This applies to vehicles on the road, as well the road itself; smoother surfaces lead to reduced wear and tear on vehicles and will bring down vehicle operating costs. This also results in a much longer lifespan for the road itself. In fact, increasing a road’s smoothness by 25% can significantly extend the longevity of a road by 10%.
These roads can also be constructed in a shorter timeframe, and also have a lower need for maintenance and repairs as they need minimal work to keep them in great shape.
As mentioned above, tarmac roads are incredibly smooth and this reduces the friction between the surface and the tires of cars travelling over it. This results in less fuel consumption by vehicles and, in turn, it brings down the total amount of carbon emissions. Therefore, tarmac roads are more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
It is also one of the most recycled materials in first world countries, with hundreds of millions of tonnes of tarmac and asphalt products recycled per year - it isn’t just environmentally friendly but also saves taxpayers a lot of money.
Tarmac can be constructed with one lane at a time, and the whole road doesn’t have to be shut down in order to get the resurfacing finished. Instead one road can be closed for resurfacing, then opened once dry and the next one closed. In effect, this helps to keep the roads free of congestion and leaves routes open for people that need the roads and pavements for travel.