One of asphalt’s primary advantages is that it allows for a number of construction scenarios. Staged construction allows a pavement structure to be built up over time, meaning that expenditures for a road take place gradually when total funding may not be available all in one year, or if it is anticipated that traffic will be gradually added to the road because of circumstances such as the completion of bridges. Because asphalt can be constructed during off-peak traffic times, the stages of construction can be accomplished with minimal traffic disruption. When comparing the impact of off-peak traffic construction to a 24-hour lane shutdown, the user-delay costs can be as much as three orders of magnitude lower with the off-peak-hour option than with the full-day closure option.
Asphalt provides unequaled ease of maintenance and rehabilitation. The most popular option for surface renewal of asphalt pavements is the “mill and fill” process, which allows close-coupling milling and paving operations, and this minimizes the area of lane closure. As with staged construction, the ability to perform these operations during periods of below-peak traffic provides a great benefit to road users. Using echelon paving, as well as night and weekend scheduling of work, means minimal inconvenience to traffic. The road can be opened to traffic in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks. Again, the user-delay costs associated with the shorter work time means a tremendous saving for the traveling public and shipping businesses. Shorter lane closures also mean greater safety for vehicles traversing the work zone.