Highway superstructures are divided into three main groups as “Rigid Superstructure”, Flexible Superstructure” and “Composite Superstructure” by the construction material used and surface type. Bitumen, which is the resultant waste during petroleum refinement, is used as the binding material in the coating layer of the flexible superstructure while cement, which is obtained by means of industrial production, is used as the binding material in the rigid superstructure. As for composite superstructure, concrete and asphalt superstructure layers are used together.
The first rigid superstructure coating in the world, which is still in use, namely concrete paving, was constructed as a solution for the streets of a town called Bellefontaine, which were covered in mud in rainy weather and generated a vast amount of dust in dry weather, in Ohio State of the USA. Concrete paving implementations in the Europe started at the beginning of the last century and became widespread in Belgium after 1920s and after 1930s in Germany. Today, 60% of the village roads are concrete in Belgium. Austria has a rooted concrete paving construction tradition. In Germany, concrete paving is generally included in the tender dossiers as an alternative to asphalt paving. In European countries, in general, concrete paving is preferred in the regions that require tire chain or studded tire use on the roads that are heavily travelled.
Even though usage ratios differ from state to state in the USA, concrete paving with joint reinforcement or continuous reinforcement is preferred on the roads with heavy traffic while roller compacted concrete is used on the rural roads. For example, concrete paving ratio in the ring roads of such big cities as Los Angeles is around 90%. Part of the roads in the Republic of South Africa is concrete paving. Local people work as concrete worker in the construction of the concrete paving in the rural sections in particular and gain experience. Concrete roads are constructed in Japan and China in Asia. Currently there is concrete highway of 1300 km in India and the roads to be renewed in a number of sections are planned as concrete paving. In recent years, most of the asphalt road projects to be tendered in Azerbaijan have been converted into concrete paving.
In our day, concrete paving stands out as a more cost-effective option compared to asphalt paving due to their initial construction costs, long-service life and low maintenance cost. As well as domestic production of concrete paving, its ability to bear more traffic load compared to asphalt paving, long lasting nature and resistance to environmental impacts, the amount of light required at the night hours is lesser than that required by the asphalt road because concrete paving is light-colored. Saving on electricity consumption, reduction in fuel consumption thanks to tires not being sunk in the road as is the case with asphalt thereby reduction in CO2 emission show that concrete paving is a more economical, environmentally-friendly and more suitable option in technical terms.
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Concrete Paving is Long-Lasting
The first concrete paving constructed in the world was Court Avenue, which was constructed in 1891 in Bellefontaine/Ohio. Celebrating its 128th year, Court Avenue is still in service and is kind of used as an open-air museum to prove that concrete paving is long-lasting.
Concrete Paving is Domestic
Primary material of concrete paving is cement, whose production is domestic and dependent on national resources. Cements factories show a homogenous distribution in each region in our country, which is the largest cement producer in Europe, and preferring concrete in the road superstructures will enable that public resources are used efficiently.
Concrete Paving is Fuel-Saving
In addition to all technical and economic advantages, concrete paving also stands out in environmental impact assessment. Transport Research Laboratories of the UK, National Research Council Canada and Japan Highway Research Institute being in the first place; a number of competent authorities carried out studies and it was as a result identified that fuel saving on every 100 km at Concrete Roads was 0,45 liters. The fact that fuel consumption is less on the Concrete Roads compared to asphalt roads enables a significant saving in economic terms and minimizes the environmental impact.
Competition is for Public Benefit
Experience gained in highway engineering in the world for long years has shown that the factor affecting the road superstructure costs most is competition between the sectors (Concrete-Asphalt) rather than the competition within the sector (Concrete-Concrete or Asphalt-Asphalt). It was found out that superstructure costs were seriously reduced in the regions, where Concrete and Asphalt superstructures were used commonly and as an alternative to one another.
Concrete Paving is Durable
As it is rigid superstructure, Concrete Paving spreads the loads taken on into a far wider area compared to the flexible superstructures and conveys to the foundation. In this way, there is no need for too much superstructure layer. Bearing capacity of the concrete paving is much higher. Deformations such as pits, reveling, fatigue cracks, wheel track settlement are not observed when concrete paving is preferred especially at the sections heavily used by the heavy vehicles.