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Why Isn’t Asphalt Used on Bridge Surfaces?

why asphalt is not used on bridges

Customers frequently ask us why we do not extend a coating of new asphalt across bridge surfaces when we repave a road. Most are looking to avoid the distinct bump felt when traversing the overpass on entry and exit. There are several reasons why we don’t use asphalt on bridge surfaces – and a simple solution for ensuring a smooth transition.

Repaving Over a Bridge Adds Significant Weight

Overpasses are designed separately from roadways. Constructed to strict tolerances for safety, they serve specific purposes like crossing over city roadways, train tracks, and bodies of water. When making paving repairs, adding asphalt to these structures would add a significant amount of additional weight – a burden these structures were not designed to carry.

Adding a Layer of Asphalt Can Mask Bridge Problems

Rolling a layer of asphalt over a bridge could hide problems underneath, such as water intrusion or structural defects. Left unnoticed and unattended by inspectors, these hidden weaknesses could result in potentially dangerous consequences for drivers.

Concrete is the Best Choice for Bridges

Contractors typically inspect overpasses every two years. Avoiding paving over these surfaces makes it easier to examine concrete bridge surfaces for cracking. Fortunately, concrete paving lasts significantly longer than asphalt – up to 40 years – and requires less frequent maintenance. The asphalt surfacing leading up to and exiting overpasses may need repaving several times during this time. When surrounding repairs are required, our paving contractors take care to provide proper clearance between surfaces to ensure a smooth transition.

Achieve Safe, Lasting, Professional Roadway Paving Results

Ensure the right surface for your application. Our experienced contractors know why asphalt isn’t used on bridge surfaces – and what to use in its place. When it’s time to repair your roadways, choose a paving contractor you can trust. Contact American Asphalt at 510-723-0280 to schedule a quote on repaving your Hayward, Fremont, San Jose, Walnut Creek, Fairfield, or Oakland area roadways and bridges today.


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