The History of Asphalt Roads in America

asphalt paving in baltimore -- a&m asphalt

At A&M Asphalt Paving we provide top quality asphalt paving in Baltimore. We decided to investigate the history of asphalt roads in America. Throughout history, people have recognized the usefulness of asphalt as a resource. Asphalt was first used as a road-building material in approximately 650 BCE in Babylon. Sir Walter Raleigh is even recorded as having used asphalt to re-caulk his fleet of ships.

Asphalt roads reached America with the nation’s first asphalt pavement being laid in 1870 in New Jersey. Once builders recognized the value in asphalt roads, there was a rush to lay claim to the material. As a result, many patents were filed as road builders developed new and innovative asphalt mixtures.

However, this competition led to cities tightening their requirements on asphalt roads and they started to demand warranties on their roadways. This caused major problems for builders as the warranties didn’t take into account wear-and-tear factors beyond their control. Soon after this forced many builders out of business. And, by the time patents had expired in 1920, most patented pavements had left the market.

Demand for Asphalt Roads in America Grew Throughout the Years

In the 1900s, the boom in automobile traffic drove the demand for more and better roads. This led to great innovations with manufacturers developing rudimentary machines for mixing asphalt road surfaces. By 1901 the first modern asphalt production facility opened in Massachusetts. The first mechanical road spreaders were used to lay asphalt roads in the 1920s. The demand for asphalt roads continued to rise, often outstripping supply. And, by 1937, asphalt was used in the production of around four-fifths of the roads under construction at the time.

Following World War II Congress devoted $51 billion to the building of roads. This led to further advances in road-laying technologies and paved the way for the modern asphalt roads we see today. Consequently asphalt plants became more sophisticated. Then there was a push to improve the quality of asphalt roads beginning in the 1950s. Today asphalt road surfaces are highly engineered to improve safety and user experience. Skid control, noise reduction and splash control are all examples of recent innovations in asphalt road surfacing.

If you’re looking for asphalt paving in Baltimore, A&M Asphalt Paving is the perfect choice for all types of asphalt paving work. We lay parking lots and driveways, seal coat and even remove snow from commercial and residential properties. With over 30 years’ experience providing quality asphalt paving in Baltimore, A&M’s expertise and outstanding customer service guarantee satisfaction for any job, big or small. Contact us today.

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