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Author Topic: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?  (Read 4856 times)

kernals12

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Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« on: August 19, 2021, 12:59:26 PM »

Engineers will tell you that winter is a killer for highways. Freeze thaw cycles leave potholes in asphalt and road salt corrodes the steel rebar on bridges.

Since Florida has no winters to speak of, do their roads last much longer?
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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2021, 06:23:29 PM »

The thing is, up north, pavement mixes are designed for freeze-thaw, so a single freeze/thaw cycle down South can do as much or more damage than an entire season up North. Some parts of Florida can freeze but it's usually not a deep enough freeze to damage pavement, so yes, their pavement will last a lot longer and many of their county roads still have secondary state pavement from the 70s-80s. Bridges, however, will be worn down by the flow of traffic and so their lifespans are not significantly longer (assuming proper maintenance in all climates).

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2021, 06:32:42 PM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates.  Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play. 
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kernals12

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2021, 07:56:18 PM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates. Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play.
But in terms of warmth, Florida is in a league of its own. Arizona does have parts that get cold. It will snow in the grand canyon.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2021, 12:40:01 AM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates. Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play.
But in terms of warmth, Florida is in a league of its own. Arizona does have parts that get cold. It will snow in the Grand Canyon.

Hence why I specified the Sonoran Desert regions of Arizona.  The Mojave doesnít see much weather variance either but there was definitely large enough weather variations that caused road wear in the Chihuahuan Desert.  The roughest spots in terms of road wear in Arizona were along the Mogollon Rim where the snow and rains accumulated at the edge of the Colorado Plateau. 

Similarly low elevation desert regions in Nevada and California donít see a huge degree of wear.  Itís like Alps said, the more weather variation (namely freezing over frequently) the more roadways tend to be damaged.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2021, 12:48:19 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2021, 12:46:23 AM »

But in terms of warmth, Florida is in a league of its own. Arizona does have parts that get cold. It will snow in the grand canyon.

That is irrelevant. If youíre averaging the entire state, maybeÖ but Max was specifically referring to the Sonoran Desert and other low-elevation parts of the desert southwest, where snow is very rare to nonexistent and even freezes are notable events that donít happen every year. The Grand Canyon rim and Flagstaff areas are around 7000 feet elevation.

kernals12

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2021, 07:30:11 AM »

The thing is, up north, pavement mixes are designed for freeze-thaw, so a single freeze/thaw cycle down South can do as much or more damage than an entire season up North. Some parts of Florida can freeze but it's usually not a deep enough freeze to damage pavement, so yes, their pavement will last a lot longer and many of their county roads still have secondary state pavement from the 70s-80s. Bridges, however, will be worn down by the flow of traffic and so their lifespans are not significantly longer (assuming proper maintenance in all climates).
Dumb question: What is secondary state pavement?
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Daniel Fiddler

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2021, 02:11:28 PM »

I read somewhere a few years ago where one year they ranked the best and worst roads in all 50 states.  In it, Florida had the best, Tennessee had the second best, and Georgia the third best.  And if memory serves me right, I think Pennsylvania had the worst and Ohio the second worst.  I forgot where I read this though.
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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2021, 02:13:28 PM »



until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix

Nice play.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2021, 02:40:20 PM »

^^^

That stuff seemed great until the desert heat started to converting into rubbery chunks that flew off the road surface. 

I read somewhere a few years ago where one year they ranked the best and worst roads in all 50 states.  In it, Florida had the best, Tennessee had the second best, and Georgia the third best.  And if memory serves me right, I think Pennsylvania had the worst and Ohio the second worst.  I forgot where I read this though.

I can think of numerous metrics Florida really lacks in that would soundly knock it out of contention for "best" road network:

-  The surface road networks in major cities tend to be very poorly designed.  Example; trying getting anywhere in Orlando on a surface road often is frustrating and requires odd jogs through neighborhoods or around lakes. 
-  There is a huge number of timed lights on surface highways which tend to unnecessarily create backups and long wait times.
-  The shoulder widths on numerous conventional highways tend to run on the soft side or don't exist.
-  Turning lanes tend to very short and inadequate to filter traffic.
-  Speed limits are often too slow or posted in at a lower limit in places they aren't needed.  Example; major intersections on US 19 north of Crystal River don't need to drop from 65 MPH, to 55 MPH, to 45 MPH and back given the rural setting. 
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Daniel Fiddler

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2021, 02:48:17 PM »

^^^

That stuff seemed great until the desert heat started to converting into rubbery chunks that flew off the road surface. 

I read somewhere a few years ago where one year they ranked the best and worst roads in all 50 states.  In it, Florida had the best, Tennessee had the second best, and Georgia the third best.  And if memory serves me right, I think Pennsylvania had the worst and Ohio the second worst.  I forgot where I read this though.

I can think of numerous metrics Florida really lacks in that would soundly knock it out of contention for "best" road network:

-  The surface road networks in major cities tend to be very poorly designed.  Example; trying getting anywhere in Orlando on a surface road often is frustrating and requires odd jogs through neighborhoods or around lakes. 
-  There is a huge number of timed lights on surface highways which tend to unnecessarily create backups and long wait times.
-  The shoulder widths on numerous conventional highways tend to run on the soft side or don't exist.
-  Turning lanes tend to very short and inadequate to filter traffic.
-  Speed limits are often too slow or posted in at a lower limit in places they aren't needed.  Example; major intersections on US 19 north of Crystal River don't need to drop from 65 MPH, to 55 MPH, to 45 MPH and back given the rural setting. 

I think they were considering pavement quality and how states maintained their roads  only.  Although I can agree with you.  They should have included more criteria.
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Alps

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2021, 10:48:35 PM »

The thing is, up north, pavement mixes are designed for freeze-thaw, so a single freeze/thaw cycle down South can do as much or more damage than an entire season up North. Some parts of Florida can freeze but it's usually not a deep enough freeze to damage pavement, so yes, their pavement will last a lot longer and many of their county roads still have secondary state pavement from the 70s-80s. Bridges, however, will be worn down by the flow of traffic and so their lifespans are not significantly longer (assuming proper maintenance in all climates).
Dumb question: What is secondary state pavement?
Pavement on secondary roads - not maintained or traveled as often

Max Rockatansky

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2021, 10:57:53 PM »

The thing is, up north, pavement mixes are designed for freeze-thaw, so a single freeze/thaw cycle down South can do as much or more damage than an entire season up North. Some parts of Florida can freeze but it's usually not a deep enough freeze to damage pavement, so yes, their pavement will last a lot longer and many of their county roads still have secondary state pavement from the 70s-80s. Bridges, however, will be worn down by the flow of traffic and so their lifespans are not significantly longer (assuming proper maintenance in all climates).
Dumb question: What is secondary state pavement?
Pavement on secondary roads - not maintained or traveled as often

And it used to be an actual classification of State Road.  FDOT has gotten rid of a lot of what was  Secondary State Road mileage but there is still a fair bit to be found.  Most of the examples I gave above are from roadways that would have been once considered Secondary State Roads.  :nod:
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architect77

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2021, 12:12:19 AM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates.  Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play. 

I know why. Florida goes all out with top notch quality with their highways. They spend $13-14 billion a year on them and it shows.

My guess is that they do good grading, and suffiicient crowning of the roadways so they shed water well.

When you hear the loud asphalt that's very porous in other regions it's because they have to give water somewhere to go, in the the airy pavement because water doesn't shed sufficiently fast enough to prevent hydroplaning.

Atlanta has to use that very porous mix and it gegrades quickly and only lasts about half as long as more solid mixtures. It's very loud too.

That's my guess about what you're speaking of.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2021, 12:22:19 AM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates.  Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play. 

I know why. Florida goes all out with top notch quality with their highways. They spend $13-14 billion a year on them and it shows.

My guess is that they do good grading, and suffiicient crowning of the roadways so they shed water well.

When you hear the loud asphalt that's very porous in other regions it's because they have to give water somewhere to go, in the the airy pavement because water doesn't shed sufficiently fast enough to prevent hydroplaning.

Atlanta has to use that very porous mix and it gegrades quickly and only lasts about half as long as more solid mixtures. It's very loud too.

That's my guess about what you're speaking of.

Even local roads and stuff in private neighborhoods are like that also.  When I lived in Florida it was the only state I ever found running on concrete to be softer on my joints.  Yes, I always assumed it had something to do with draining water.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2021, 12:25:34 AM by Max Rockatansky »
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architect77

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2021, 03:14:02 AM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates.  Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play. 

I know why. Florida goes all out with top notch quality with their highways. They spend $13-14 billion a year on them and it shows.

My guess is that they do good grading, and suffiicient crowning of the roadways so they shed water well.

When you hear the loud asphalt that's very porous in other regions it's because they have to give water somewhere to go, in the the airy pavement because water doesn't shed sufficiently fast enough to prevent hydroplaning.

Atlanta has to use that very porous mix and it gegrades quickly and only lasts about half as long as more solid mixtures. It's very loud too.

That's my guess about what you're speaking of.

Even local roads and stuff in private neighborhoods are like that also.  When I lived in Florida it was the only state I ever found running on concrete to be softer on my joints.  Yes, I always assumed it had something to do with draining water.

Well, if you can afford it, concrete will last and be maintenance-free for decades.

i take that back, after reading NCDOT's 2016 MOPAR report, I learned that they are always applying sealants to  bridges and concrete pavement which extends its service life.

I wouldn't have ever known that was part of the upkeep had I not read that report.

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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2021, 07:59:08 AM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates.  Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play. 

I know why. Florida goes all out with top notch quality with their highways. They spend $13-14 billion a year on them and it shows.

My guess is that they do good grading, and suffiicient crowning of the roadways so they shed water well.

When you hear the loud asphalt that's very porous in other regions it's because they have to give water somewhere to go, in the the airy pavement because water doesn't shed sufficiently fast enough to prevent hydroplaning.

Atlanta has to use that very porous mix and it gegrades quickly and only lasts about half as long as more solid mixtures. It's very loud too.

That's my guess about what you're speaking of.

Even local roads and stuff in private neighborhoods are like that also.  When I lived in Florida it was the only state I ever found running on concrete to be softer on my joints.  Yes, I always assumed it had something to do with draining water.

Well, if you can afford it, concrete will last and be maintenance-free for decades.

i take that back, after reading NCDOT's 2016 MOPAR report, I learned that they are always applying sealants to  bridges and concrete pavement which extends its service life.

I wouldn't have ever known that was part of the upkeep had I not read that report.

Concrete does have a much longer base lifespan than asphalt.  In fact there are several concrete roads I frequent nowadays like Salinas Road (near San Juan Bautista) and Weber Avenue (in Herndon) which had their concrete surfaces applied in the 1920s.  Even the concrete of Old Ridge Route still largely is intact while itís asphalt sealant has eroded long ago. 

But to that end, yes when a road has constant heavy vehicles moving on it then it will require regular maintenance no matter the surface type used.  Concrete does last significantly longer but it is also far more expensive and tends to provide way more rough of a ride compared to asphalt.   Concrete roads from what Iíve observed also tend to be far more noisy (especially the clanking of cars over individual slabs) than similar asphalt surfaces. 
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VTGoose

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2021, 10:53:57 AM »


I know why. Florida goes all out with top notch quality with their highways. They spend $13-14 billion a year on them and it shows.

My guess is that they do good grading, and suffiicient crowning of the roadways so they shed water well.


I will also suggest that a lot of time and effort goes into creating a firm and solid base, given the sandy soil in many parts of the state.
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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2021, 01:27:49 PM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates. Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play.
But in terms of warmth, Florida is in a league of its own. Arizona does have parts that get cold. It will snow in the grand canyon.

You have obviously never spent time in the Florida panhandle in the winter. There's a reason they roll the beaches up in September...you won't be frolicking up there around Christmas without a jacket.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2021, 01:36:33 PM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates. Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play.
But in terms of warmth, Florida is in a league of its own. Arizona does have parts that get cold. It will snow in the grand canyon.

You have obviously never spent time in the Florida panhandle in the winter. There's a reason they roll the beaches up in September...you won't be frolicking up there around Christmas without a jacket.

Hell I remember when it snowed around Brooksville circa 2007.  That definitely wasnít a common occurrence to see snow but usually it would get to at least 32F once or twice every winter.
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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2021, 01:54:11 PM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates. Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play.
But in terms of warmth, Florida is in a league of its own. Arizona does have parts that get cold. It will snow in the grand canyon.

You have obviously never spent time in the Florida panhandle in the winter. There's a reason they roll the beaches up in September...you won't be frolicking up there around Christmas without a jacket.

Hell I remember when it snowed around Brooksville circa 2007.  That definitely wasnít a common occurrence to see snow but usually it would get to at least 32F once or twice every winter.

I remember when I lived in Orlando and it got down to 21 degrees.  Indubitably an unusual occurrence. 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2021, 01:59:52 PM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates. Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play.
But in terms of warmth, Florida is in a league of its own. Arizona does have parts that get cold. It will snow in the grand canyon.

You have obviously never spent time in the Florida panhandle in the winter. There's a reason they roll the beaches up in September...you won't be frolicking up there around Christmas without a jacket.

Hell I remember when it snowed around Brooksville circa 2007.  That definitely wasnít a common occurrence to see snow but usually it would get to at least 32F once or twice every winter.

I remember when I lived in Orlando and it got down to 21 degrees.  Indubitably an unusual occurrence.

It only ever dipped into the high 30s the two years I lived in the city.  There was definitely a heat island effect going on that likely wasnít a thing out on St. Johns River, Ocala National Forest nor the Green Swamp in the immediate vicinity.  One time in 2013 it got down to 52F in Key West following a larger winter rainstorm.  That was actually pretty miserable considering my home didnít have a heater or much on the way of insulation. 
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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2021, 07:13:41 PM »

I wouldnít say any longer than other warm weather climates.  Arizona had some really long  lasting asphalt road surfaces in the Sonoran Desert until ADOT starting messing around with that quiet rubberized asphalt mix on the Phoenix areas freeways.  The other desert states were also similar at low elevations where the climate was stable, snow free and mostly dry. 

Something I have noticed with roads in Florida is that the asphalt aggregate is really firm compared to other states.  Iíve never been quite sure if that is due to the local materials used or if there is some sort of methodology in terms of draining water faster at play. 

I know why. Florida goes all out with top notch quality with their highways. They spend $13-14 billion a year on them and it shows.

My guess is that they do good grading, and suffiicient crowning of the roadways so they shed water well.

When you hear the loud asphalt that's very porous in other regions it's because they have to give water somewhere to go, in the the airy pavement because water doesn't shed sufficiently fast enough to prevent hydroplaning.

Atlanta has to use that very porous mix and it gegrades quickly and only lasts about half as long as more solid mixtures. It's very loud too.

That's my guess about what you're speaking of.

Even local roads and stuff in private neighborhoods are like that also.  When I lived in Florida it was the only state I ever found running on concrete to be softer on my joints.  Yes, I always assumed it had something to do with draining water.

Well, if you can afford it, concrete will last and be maintenance-free for decades.

i take that back, after reading NCDOT's 2016 MOPAR report, I learned that they are always applying sealants to  bridges and concrete pavement which extends its service life.

I wouldn't have ever known that was part of the upkeep had I not read that report.

Concrete does have a much longer base lifespan than asphalt.  In fact there are several concrete roads I frequent nowadays like Salinas Road (near San Juan Bautista) and Weber Avenue (in Herndon) which had their concrete surfaces applied in the 1920s.  Even the concrete of Old Ridge Route still largely is intact while itís asphalt sealant has eroded long ago. 

But to that end, yes when a road has constant heavy vehicles moving on it then it will require regular maintenance no matter the surface type used.  Concrete does last significantly longer but it is also far more expensive and tends to provide way more rough of a ride compared to asphalt.   Concrete roads from what Iíve observed also tend to be far more noisy (especially the clanking of cars over individual slabs) than similar asphalt surfaces. 

They must have new technology for laying concrete pavement, because like you said long ago, there were many joints between each short slab, SoCal has many highways like that...

But now the concrete sections of I-85 in NC, Charlotte and North of Charlotte seem smoth, quiet and with very few joints. Thats a good thing.
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NJRoadfan

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2021, 08:42:31 PM »

I-4 really needs to be repaved thru most of the Orlando area. Plenty of rough patches and even some potholes. FDOT can get away with delaying routine paving jobs for much longer then someplace with a freeze/thaw cycle.
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pianocello

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Re: Do roads in Florida last longer than elsewhere?
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2021, 05:45:21 PM »

I-4 really needs to be repaved thru most of the Orlando area. Plenty of rough patches and even some potholes. FDOT can get away with delaying routine paving jobs for much longer then someplace with a freeze/thaw cycle.
Um. When's the last time you were down there? The I-4 Ultimate project is almost done, the main lanes are on entirely new pavement.

Unless you mean by the attractions (Universal, SeaWorld, Disney, etc.). A complete reconstruction is on FDOT's radar (I'm guessing they're waiting for funding), which may explain below-average pavement condition. But even that isn't as bad as some of the smaller roads in the state.
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Davenport, IA -> Valparaiso, IN -> Ames, IA -> Orlando, FL -> Gainesville, FL

 


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