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  • Ashlyn Halstead

Asphalt and Concrete: What's the Difference?

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

At Milestone we Make Lives Better One Road and Bridge at a Time with our asphalt and concrete mixtures. Every day we use these sturdy and durable materials to build sidewalks, parking lots, interstates, roundabouts, and more to help you travel in the most safe and efficient way possible. While both substances are made from similar materials, they have their differences.

Asphalt is made by using aggregate bound together by bitumen. This binder is a dark, sticky substance that is derived from crude oil. When lots, driveways, and roads are built using asphalt, hot bitumen mixed with fine aggregate is poured onto a bed of heavier aggregate. The asphalt then goes through a compaction process that is accomplished with either static or vibratory roller that are powered by diesel engines, which ensures proper binding. From here the asphalt needs to cool down to the surrounding air temperature, at which point it is strong enough to handle traffic. This process ensures hardness and durability, while also offering enough flexibility to accommodate any imperfections in the underlying surface.

Much like asphalt, concrete is made using aggregates. In this instance, the binder holding the aggregate together is cement rather than oil. Cement is a fine, soft powder used as a binder because it hardens after contact with water. It is produced from a mixture of limestone and clay. Concrete is formed when cement, water and aggregates are mixed to form a paste.

Paving with concrete or asphalt isn’t inherently better than the other, both methods have their own benefits. Which application used can depend on many factors such as cost, climate ,timing, and more.

Advantages of concrete roads include its long lifespan concrete pavement can last 20-40 years on average, noise reduction qualities and durability. Asphalt is 100% recyclable and can be quickly built.

Milestone Asphalt Paving in Action (Bloomington, IN)

One of our notable asphalt works is the instalment of double roundabouts in northwest Bloomington. In March of 2022, Foreman Jeff Gott and his crew started the earth work to prepare for a roundabout at North Curry Pike and Woodyard Road and another at Woodyard and Smith Pike. Both, intersections had seen about 20 accidents per year, in part because drivers heading south on Smith Pike were not yielding and would pull out in traffic heading east or west on Woodyard Road. County highway officials are confident that the improvements made will reduce the number and severity of crashes.

From March 2022 to October 2022 our crews lived out our value “Tackle the Big Problem” and made this job a success. There was an enormous number of underground utilities that needed to be moved that took a lot of brainstorming and logistical thinking, but they were always up for the challenge. The crews to thank on this job include Jeff Gotts’, Jason Frye’s, Jared Stagg’s, Daniel Pott’s, Josh Miller’s, and Robert Medina’s. It is an asphalt project we are extremely proud to call Milestone’s work!

Curry Pike, Bloomington, Indiana

Milestone Concrete Paving in Action (Fort Wayne, IN)

One of our notable concrete works is our Bass Road Roundabout. We began work on this project in March of 2022. The 0.6-mile stretch of Bass between Clifty Parkway and Thomas Road features new concrete street pavement in each direction, a new center left-turn lane, an asphalt trail for pedestrian and bicycling uses, and new storm sewer, curbs, and gutters.

As the area of this town is expecting major housing growth in the near future, all these upgrades will have a positive impact on the traveling community.

Before the 0.6-mile stretch of concrete street pavement, two roundabouts were installed west of the recently completed section. One roundabout includes an active railroad track running through it near Hadley and Yellow River roads. Fun fact: the unique roundabout is one of its kind in Indiana and only the fourth in the U.S.!

The concrete crews to thank for their major impacts to this community are Jeff Tuesh’s, Chad Baker’s, Emilio Guzman’s, Eric Sordlet’s, Scott Dohrman’s, Jason Brown’s, Reed Weber’s, and Fred Waikle’s. A special thanks to head paving concrete, Rick Baumer. We could not lead these projects without you!

Bass Rd, Fort Wayne, Indiana

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