I would like to take the time to thank the state of West Virginia, Department of Highways, Code division and the EPA for setting regulations on highway surface materials. Yes, you have changed the requirements of the ingredients involved in the process of manufacturing the surface material and I am betting this took place about the time blacktop evolved into asphalt.
For those of you that remember back in the 1960s and '70s, blacktop held up for many, many years. I personally have a piece of blacktop from the 1970s that you cannot break apart with a hammer. I have tried.
The new asphalt that has replaced the old blacktop can be broken apart by your fingers! That's right, chunks taken up from a resurfacing job can be broken apart with your fingers. Is it any wonder that our roads get repaved every five to 10 years and get patched many times before the repavement?
If you will notice, this time of year especially, all the spider web cracks in the asphalt? These cracks are the beginning of what we are able to acknowledge as potholes. If you notice, these spider web cracks are everywhere. Now our roads are coming apart everywhere. With the constant repaving they should be in great condition, but as you can tell, they are coming apart. Now, Gov. Tomblin feels he must raise fuel tax again to maintain revenue so that they can continue repaving with the same asphalt that doesn't last any longer than the paint that was applied to it for striping.
A few of the ingredients that have been regulated out of the material base is so bad for the environment. So let me understand this scenario, the blacktop that lasted and wore like concrete and barely eroded away is more hazardous than asphalt that crumbles apart like a Taco Bell supreme!
Where does this excessive amount of crumbled asphalt end up? That's right, in the environment. So if we have blacktop that cures into a concrete type base and barley erodes, wouldn't the materials and ingredients used to produce this product be contained in the base?
Just a thought.
Harold "J. R." Flinn