High cost of building roads in New Jersey may be due to the asphalt
Studies are released almost yearly about the high cost of building roads in New Jersey and part of the reason may be because of the asphalt itself.
Tom Bennert, supervisor of Rutgers Asphalt Pavement Laboratory, says putting an asphalt recipe together is pretty much like a recipe to make cookies or cakes. "You have a certain percentage of sugar, flour, etc., etc.," says Bennert.
Bennert says every road, runway or parking lot requires a different asphalt recipe, depending on factors from the weather and traffic levels to what's underneath. Researchers at the laboratory spend their days trying to come up with the perfect recipe for each place from Route 46 to the Atlantic City Expressway to airport runways.
"We have sections of New Jersey that are composite pavement, old concrete below, new asphalt on top," says Bennert. "That has to perform completely different from maybe a roadway that is just outside our laboratory."
Researchers also subject the materials to heat and cold as well as pressure and slow bending to develop new and better materials to make roads.
The laboratory is like a museum of asphalt samples of roads, runways and parking lots all over New Jersey and other East Coast states.
"The materials that are being used in New Jersey are really of the highest quality of the highest design quality," says Bennert.