A concrete alternative to asphalt roads

The hum of tires on cement is music to Michael McSweeney’s ears. And the president and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada was in Red Deer on Wednesday to promote that sound.

The hum of tires on cement is music to Michael McSweeney’s ears. And the president and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada was in Red Deer on Wednesday to promote that sound.

McSweeney is in the midst of a nearly year-long campaign to encourage the use of cement across Canada.

On Tuesday, he met with municipal officials from Edmonton, St. Albert and Strathcona County, and after chatting with Red Deer councillors and administration, he was heading north to Fort McMurray.

Next week, he’s slated to visit Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

“Our target audience is municipal officials, architects and engineers,” said McSweeney, describing his pitch as one that touches on the economic and environmental advantages of concrete over other building materials.

At first glance, he acknowledged, concrete may seem a more costly option to alternatives like asphalt. But concrete roads last much longer — up to 35 to 50 years — and require less maintenance work, he pointed out.

“I’m trying to advocate that municipal councillors should be looking at what’s called life-cycle assessment when they do capital projects.”

McSweeney added that concrete typically uses more local inputs: labour, sand and aggregate, with a pair of Alberta plants producing cement. This means reduced transportation requirements and fewer greenhouse gases.

Vehicles travelling on concrete roads also experience less friction than they do on asphalt, he continued.

“You can save about three per cent in fuel costs, on trucks.”

And because concrete roads are light-coloured, they reflect more light, he said.

“You require 22 per cent less lighting on concrete pavement than you do on asphalt pavement.”

McSweeney is also pitching concrete as a desirable material for municipal buildings, from sports arenas to libraries.

That’s because its insulating factor is about eight per cent better than is the case for wood frame construction, which reduces energy costs and greenhouse gases.

Concrete buildings also last longer, he said.

McSweeney, who is a former Ottawa city councillor, thinks the Cement Association of Canada’s message is getting out.

“It’s becoming more and more common,” he said of concrete.

“If you look at the United States, I think 60 per cent of the U.S. highways are concrete. Winnipeg uses concrete in the majority of their roads. In Ontario, the 400-series of highways is done in concrete.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Pet medical neglect cases on the rise in economically ailing Calgary

CALGARY — The Calgary Humane Society has seen a steady rise in… Continue reading

Man, woman found guilty in Calgary quadruple killing case

CALGARY — A Calgary jury found two people guilty Thursday in the… Continue reading

Ontario passes bill to join opioid class-action lawsuit launched by BC

TORONTO — Ontario is joining five other provinces in a class-action lawsuit… Continue reading

Red Deer Dream Centre opponents won’t appeal its approval

Red Deer’s subdivision and development appeal board approves project

Decision affirms power of courts to review the discipline of judges

OTTAWA — The authority of the Federal Court to review disciplinary measures… Continue reading

Drug bust: Red Deer RCMP seize drugs, cash, vehicles

Criminals are getting creative. Red Deer RCMP have seized cash and vehicles… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Gaudreau scores twice in Flames’ 4-2 come-from-behind victory over Maple Leafs

Flames 4 Leafs 2 CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau had his first two-goal… Continue reading

Staal, Kunin help Wild recover to beat Oilers 6-5

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Eric Staal scored the go-ahead goal with 4:47… Continue reading

Pet medical neglect cases on the rise in economically ailing Calgary

CALGARY — The Calgary Humane Society has seen a steady rise in… Continue reading

Man, woman found guilty in Calgary quadruple killing case

CALGARY — A Calgary jury found two people guilty Thursday in the… Continue reading

Ontario passes bill to join opioid class-action lawsuit launched by BC

TORONTO — Ontario is joining five other provinces in a class-action lawsuit… Continue reading

Scott Milanovich returns to CFL, named head coach of Edmonton Eskimos

EDMONTON — Scott Milanovich is returning to the CFL with the task… Continue reading

Decision affirms power of courts to review the discipline of judges

OTTAWA — The authority of the Federal Court to review disciplinary measures… Continue reading

Most Read