One of the less pleasant smells associated with the changing seasons comes shortly after winter thaw and spring rains – the extended summer season of highway repair and driveway installation. As you're driving by, trying to ignore the dark fumes, it's hard to think of asphalt as a particularly “green” substance.
However, it is! Environmentally friendly asphalt is much better for the planet than most people assume. It's a fine choice if you're looking for a paving material that does as little damage to the earth as possible.
Perpetual pavement is a flexible but strong asphalt pavement that doesn't exhibit structural damage even when very high traffic flows over long periods of time. They’re made up of multiple layers of durable asphalt. The bottom layer is designed to be strong but flexible to resist strains that could cause cracks to form from the bottom up. A similar intermediate layer adds additional structural protection, and the final layer, made of rut-resistant hot-mix asphalt (HMA), requires only minimal maintenance.
These surfaces have been around a long time. Some of the oldest perpetual pavements have been around since before the 1960s. The surfaces created then that were well designed and executed have provided very long usefulness without much maintenance even with heavy traffic. These days, advancements in milling, recycling, and asphalt production technologies make it even more likely that perpetual pavements will perform better and longer.