Asphalt vs. Beton: Why do not we have more concrete roads?

Asphalt dominates our roads - even though concrete is actually the better alternative in many ways. Why this is so, and why paving is so rarely made of concrete, read in this post.

Leading of concrete

Beon streets offer some major advantages over asphalted roads:

  • They are much more durable
  • they are much more resilient
  • they do not deform in the summer heat
  • they are less prone to damage and wear

These are not small advantages: The life of a concrete road is consistently twice as long like an asphalt road. Because of the lower wear of the covering surface (formation of ruts, etc.) much less repair work is required.

Disadvantages of concrete

All this would make concrete roads a clear favorite. Even the slightly higher costs of concrete compared to asphalt would hardly play a role here, because what would have to be paid more in the beginning, would have amortized within several years by reduced repairs and lower damage and generally by the longer service life.

However, there are problems with concrete the joint, For large concrete surfaces joints must be installed at regular intervals. On the one hand, the joints prevent the concrete from cracking during curing - on the other hand, they also require that the hardened concrete be able to expand sufficiently later on in the event of temperature changes, without cracking.

Effort for joints

In practice, therefore, all 4 - 5 meter joints are cut into the concrete. These can be so-called space joints, which cut through the concrete in full thickness, or dummy joints, which are only about a quarter of the concrete thickness.

In addition to the joints in the direction of the road course and joints must be inserted transversely to the course of the road at regular intervals. This creates a road surface consisting of individual concrete slabs. All joints must be secured with dowels and anchors to keep the carriageway together. For this purpose, each individual joint must be provided with an elastic rubber profile. This means a lot of effort during the construction.

However, the biggest problem later is the maintenance of joints. Joints applied in this way are very maintenance-intensive. They represent the only and actual problem of concrete road surfaces.

Tips & Tricks

Only 5% of all roads in Germany have a concrete pavement. The numerous benefits of concrete are negated by the high effort in the maintenance of joints - and although the material is more resistant, durable and significantly more robust than asphalt.

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