The History of Asphalt

The History of Asphalt. asphalt paving austin Although it bore little resemblance to a modern asphalt roadway, the first asphalt street in the United States was paved in 1870 in New Jersey. By this time, asphalt had been used extensively in Europe and the United Kingdom. In fact, the pattern for the New Jersey street was based on a highway constructed in France in 1852. Scotland had more than 900 miles of asphalt roads that were constructed between 1803 and 1821, and about 180 miles of asphalt roads were built in Yorkshire.

The history of asphalt, however, goes back many more centuries. We know that the ancient Babylonians were aware of the benefits of asphalt and constructed at least a few asphalt streets more than 2,600 years ago. At the height of the Roman Empire, asphalt was widely used as a sealant, lining many of the famous Roman baths and reservoirs.

Asphalt was not more commonly used for road building because of one primary factor: the lack of road-building technology. Although asphalt supplies were often a great distance away, this had less to do with the material’s slow adoption than the lack of engineering skills and proper equipment to build a durable asphalt road. The underlying base must be well-compacted, level and well-drained if the road is to survive. It took engineers some time to figure this out, but even after they did, the lack of equipment was still a problem. Early asphalt streets were very labor-intensive, requiring all of the preparation, application and initial smoothing to be performed by hand. Only then could a horse-drawn roller be used to apply the finishing touches.

As the 1950s dawned, the U.S. had become a mobile society. With more leisure time, travel became increasingly popular. With the development of suburbs, populations were no longer concentrated in a relatively small area. New streets and highways were needed, and the asphalt industry responded by increasing production and developing more efficient methods of paving and maintaining asphalt roadways. Today, more than 94 percent of all U.S. paved roads are covered in asphalt.

From parking lots and driveways to airport tarmacs and runways, Alpha Paving helps customers throughout the Austin metropolitan area and Central Texas install, asphalt repair and maintain their asphalt surfaces; including asphalt sealcoating and parking lot striping. For all your asphalt needs, call one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff at 512-677-9001 or use our online form to request a free quote .

Alpha Paving is the most trusted asphalt contractor in Austin Texas!

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