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WSJ: Asphalt Is Replaced By Cheaper Gravel; 'Back to Stone Age'

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posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 02:19 AM

JULY 17, 2010

Roads to Ruin: Towns Rip Up the Pavement

Asphalt Is Replaced By Cheaper Gravel; 'Back to Stone Age'

SPIRITWOOD, N.D.—A hulking yellow machine inched along Old Highway 10 here recently in a summer scene that seemed as normal as the nearby corn swaying in the breeze. But instead of laying a blanket of steaming blacktop, the machine was grinding the asphalt road into bits.

"When [counties] had lots of money, they paved a lot of the roads and tried to make life easier for the people who lived out here," said Stutsman County Highway Superintendant Mike Zimmerman, sifting the dusty black rubble through his fingers. "Now, it's catching up to them."

Outside this speck of a town, pop. 78, a 10-mile stretch of road had deteriorated to the point that residents reported seeing ducks floating in potholes, Mr. Zimmerman said. As the road wore out, the cost of repaving became too great. Last year, the county spent $400,000 on an RM300 Caterpillar rotary mixer to grind the road up, making it look more like the old homesteader trail it once was.

Paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue. State money for local roads was cut in many places amid budget shortfalls.

In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years. Last year, South Dakota turned at least 100 miles of asphalt road surfaces to gravel. Counties in Alabama and Pennsylvania have begun downgrading asphalt roads to cheaper chip-and-seal road, also known as "poor man's pavement." Some counties in Ohio are simply letting roads erode to gravel.
"A lot of these roads have just deteriorated to the point that they have no other choice than to turn them back to gravel," says Larry Galehouse, director of the National Center for Pavement Preservation at Michigan State University. Still, "we're leaving an awful legacy for future generations."
...More at link

posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 02:21 AM
Whatever happened to that 'shovel ready' money? Politicians only feed us something to shovel I guess.

What is built has to be maintained. No money to maintain something, and it goes away. Excess spending often means excess maintenance.

Should be interesting to watch.

posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 02:31 AM
They ought to pave the roads with the politicians. At least then they would be getting something back for all the wealth that was stolen...

posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 03:15 AM
reply to post by dbriefed

Simple solution...

Just move close to a WH polly..

Gauranteed your roads outta town will be perfect...

Cant have that Gov issued car on dirt roads..

posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 03:26 PM
I can verify the trends towards this industry-wide. I design roads (among other transportation/infrastructure facillities and modes) and have definitely seen shifts in the way DOTs operate over the last couple of years. We've seen a number of instances recently where roads with lower ADT (Average Daily Traffic) counts below the AASHTO/FHWA guidelines for paved roads are being planned as gravel/unpaved roadways. 10 years ago, it was almost unheard of, as most DOTs were paving every public roadway automatically. I've also seen a recent trend towards only paving the travel lanes on roads above the aforementioned "should be paved" ADT threshold. A small amount of money can be saved by having a soft shouldered roadway with only the lanes being paved, so that's what the DOTS are doing.

posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 04:00 PM
link about going the way of Rome.....

This is so sad.

posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 09:02 PM
I was surprised to read and see posted this information. Unbelievable so many hidden things going on lately (Oil spill damage, roads quietly turning to gravel).

Makes me wonder how many neighborhoods are getting bulldozed. Probably should be the high density ones, and probably low density is getting 'dozed.

posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 09:19 PM
reply to post by dbriefed

That's awesome. Yet another reason to buy a Range Rover.

posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 09:27 PM
reply to post by Dbriefed

From where I come from roads are made up of concrete (i.e. cement.) They require little to no maintenance and are approaching half a century agewise. Concrete roads for America would mean more punishment for the masses (which = awesome) as they wear down cars more quickly and more tiring journeys for those with no fancy vehicles.

posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 09:46 PM
We spend trillions overseas and are policing half of the planet.

We can't afford to fix potholes.

You do the math.

posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 12:57 PM
I suppose, knowing what we do about the scale of the meltdown, this shouldn't be surprising. Here in the UK they seem to be looking at toll roads and other charging methods (satellite tracked/charged?) wouldn't surprise me, but I think that would place massive drag on the economy and drive users off the roads.

I understand cars have had the necessary components installed as standard in their management systems to cater for a future rapid upgrade to satellite controls/links for some time (from a friend in the industry) - e.g. law enforcement turning off the vehicle etc..can't remember the name of the system/tech?

One thing I would say is, here in Europe we would think it normal now to expect a new car to get 45-65mpg (petrol) or 55-80 mpg diesel...but to obtain those figures and upwards you will be looking at small, lightweight vehicles. I think a move to greater fuel/energy efficiencies won't be helped (on a large scale) if the road surfaces start becoming higher resistance, and encourage purchases of larger heavier vehicles to cope with the deteriorating road surfaces? Any vehicle, electric, hydrogen, whatever fuel source, will become less efficient as it increases in weight, drag (size) and rolling resistance.

posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 03:21 PM
We spend Trillions on endless, pointless wars that create terrorism,

but we can't even keep our roads paved.

'National security' that doesn't include keeping the roads paved is just another treasury looting lie.

Wake up people.
You know what truly matters in your lives.
Stand up & tell the DC corporate whores to start working for you or you will lynch them.

posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 07:44 PM
reply to post by dbriefed

Hey, don't worry.

American's have all sorts of loot. Haven't you heard?

You just raise taxes, hire more guys with guns, and take their money.

Alternatively, the US government has a printing press and a credit card.

They can borrow and print our way into prosperity.

I hear Obama is working on a plan to make us all millionaires by upgrading the presses at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Robbing you, devaluing your currency, and borrowing you into oblivion will ensure the roads are paved.

Praise Mao.

[edit on 20-7-2010 by mnemeth1]

posted on Jul, 20 2010 @ 09:45 PM
How is it some people see Obama as the 'enemy' but not Bush nor Cheney?

Living in selective denial i guess.

They just don't want to believe the only change from Bush to Obama is a bit of cosmetics.

How stupid can people be?

Stupider than one can even imagine.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:01 AM
reply to post by slank
There are plenty of public debt / deficit references online to check. Wikipedia has one.

Debt ratio was 40% of GDP in 2008 thanks to Bush/Congress. Thanks to Obama/Bush/Congress, next year it will be 70% of GDP, a huge drag on our economy. One of the worst financial decisions was for the government (taxpayers) to start carrying the burden of healthcare instead of reforming healthcare costs.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) - June 30, 2010:

...In the report, CBO presents the long-term budget picture under two scenarios that embody different assumptions about future policies governing federal revenues and spending. Budget projections grow increasingly uncertain as they extend farther into the future, so this report focuses largely on the next 25 years.

One scenario, the extended-baseline scenario, adheres closely to current law. That set of policies would result in steadily higher average tax rates because they incorporate the assumptions that most of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 expire and that the alternative minimum tax applies to more and more people each year—and because the combination of economic growth and the structure of the tax system generates additional tax revenues as a percentage of income. Those rising rates, combined with the tax provisions of the recent health care legislation, would push total revenues to 23 percent of GDP by 2035—much higher than has typically been seen in recent decades—and to larger percentages thereafter. At the same time, government spending on everything other than the major mandatory health care programs, Social Security, and interest on federal debt—activities such as national defense and a wide variety of domestic programs—would decline to the lowest percentage of GDP since before World War II. Despite those substantial revenue increases and constrained spending for a portion of the budget, the rising costs of health care programs and Social Security would lead to continued budget deficits, and federal debt held by the public would grow from an estimated 62 percent of GDP this year to about 80 percent by 2035.

The budget outlook is much bleaker under the alternative fiscal scenario, which incorporates several changes to current law that are widely expected to occur or that would modify some provisions of law that might be difficult to sustain for a long period. In this scenario, CBO assumed that Medicare’s payment rates for physicians would gradually increase (which would not happen under current law) and that several policies enacted in the recent health care legislation that would restrain growth in health care spending would not continue in effect after 2020. In addition, under the alternative scenario, spending on activities other than the major mandatory health care programs, Social Security, and interest would fall below the average level of the past 40 years relative to GDP, though not as low as under the extended-baseline scenario.

...In fact, CBO’s projections understate the severity of the long-term budget problem because they do not incorporate the significant negative effects that accumulating substantial amounts of additional federal debt would have on the economy:

Large budget deficits would reduce national saving, leading to higher interest rates, more borrowing from abroad, and less domestic investment—which in turn would lower income growth in the United States.

Growing debt would also reduce lawmakers’ ability to respond to economic downturns and other challenges.

Over time, higher debt would increase the probability of a fiscal crisis in which investors would lose confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget, and the government would be forced to pay much more to borrow money.

Straight from the horses' mouth.

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