Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Making Progress?

I've been monitoring the progress of the I-540 reconstruction around Fort Smith and have been impressed by how fast the crews are working to rebuild the roadway. Southbound bridges over Grand Ave and Rogers Ave (AR 22) are progressing quickly.

One thing about the construction has struck me as odd, however: the roadway is being rebuilt with asphalt, not concrete. 

When I-540 was built back in the early-mid 1960's, the roadway was concrete. 50 years later, it's showing a lot of wear so it makes sense to rebuild the roadway...but with asphalt? Asphalt has an 8-10 year life span while concrete has a 30+ year lifespan. So why is the road being rebuilt with asphalt? Why is AHTD so short-sighted and cheap as to specify asphalt instead of concrete? It may seem cheaper in the short-run, but in the long run asphalt costs more because you have to keep replacing it or paving over it. But I guess no one considers this.

That's typical Arkansas, I fear: plan for now, not the future. Ten years from now, they'll say "oops" and try to catch up, but never will.