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.”


Just Posted

Central Alberta school districts are graded on their no-smoking policies

ASH wants them to tighten restrictions on tobacco, vaping, as well as cannabis

Free film shown in Red Deer Thursday to celebrate Recovery Day

A free film will be shown in Red Deer on Thursday about… Continue reading

Alberta Environment approvals taking too long: Red Deer County

Projects to fix a culvert can take two years to get the green light

Runningbird, Wanner disappearances remain among Red Deer’s unsolved cases

The two Indigenous women haven’t been seen in decades

Calder School takes shape in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum’s latest addition

Hushing my buzz: Alberta finance minister says cannabis warehouse will be secret

EDMONTON — Alberta is starting to stockpile marijuana but isn’t saying where… Continue reading

Relatives mourn death of Calgary-area woman killed by pet dog protecting child

CALGARY — Relatives of a Calgary-area woman killed by her own pet… Continue reading

Florence death toll climbs to 37; Trump visits stricken area

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at… Continue reading

Toronto election proceeding with 25 wards after court sides with province

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court has sided with the provincial government in… Continue reading

Scheer welcomes former Liberal MP Alleslev to Conservative caucus

OTTAWA — Andrew Scheer is trying to fire up his Conservative troops… Continue reading

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled today that Canada wants more… Continue reading

Uber driver suing Bucs’ QB Winston over groping incident

PHOENIX — A female Uber driver in Arizona is suing Tampa Bay… Continue reading

Thousands of fans request grand jury probe of Prince’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of Prince fans are asking federal authorities to open… Continue reading

Most Read