New research from the University of New Hampshire recommends that the state should invest in thicker asphalt roads. The state's roads are likely to see more damage due to rising temperatures and sea levels.
When asphalt is exposed to hotter springs and summers, it's more likely to crack under the weight of vehicles and create rougher surfaces. Damaged roads can lead to reduced fuel efficiency, more safety hazards and more traffic due to construction and road closures.
The study took place on the seacoast of New Hampshire, a region exposed to more moist conditions. But rising temperatures are expected to affect the entire state.
Jo Sias, one of the researchers with the study, says municipalities should rethink their approach to road maintenance.
“In terms of climate, historical records are not necessarily a good representation of what we expect to see in the future,” said Sias. “Folks should start planning appropriately now rather than being in reaction mode.”
The study says that a proactive approach to road maintenance could mean massive savings for local governments in the long-term, as repairs would be less frequent.
“It’s a lot cheaper in the long run to invest small amounts of money on a frequent basis to keep those roads in a good condition,” said Sias. “It takes a whole lot more to take them back to a good condition.”