Concrete may fast become the budget-friendly material of choice for road-building and paving. Here crews place roller compacted concrete on a freeway shoulder. Photo: Portland Cement Association

Concrete is emerging as more cost-effective than asphalt both initially and over the long term. At least according to the Portland Cement Association (PCA), which calculated the cost for 1 mile of standard two-lane concrete and asphalt roadway using the same estimating software state DOTs use.

Six years ago, asphalt had a $120,000 initial-bid cost advantage; today, concrete has an $82,000 advantage. The organization estimates that by 2015 concrete roads will have a $500,000 initial bid cost advantage over asphalt for a savings of 41%.

“State governments would save $37.5 billion in initial paving costs,” says PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan. “During the road's life cycle, the savings resulting from paving with concrete would total nearly $55 billion.”

A recent PCA survey of DOT specifiers concludes that concrete pavement lasts 29.3 years before major rehabilitation is required compared to 13.6 years for asphalt pavement.