Life-Cycle Cost Analysis



Smooth, flexible pavements constructed from Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) stand up to the punishment of heavy trucks and other vehicles, significantly reducing initial and total costs over the entire life cycle of a road.


The cost of keeping motorists stuck in traffic during construction—known in the industry as user delay cost—should be considered in any analysis of life-cycle cost analysis. On a busy interstate highway, traffic delays from a single construction project can easily cost a local economy more than two million dollars per day. With asphalt pavements, initial construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation all cost less. And, user delay costs are far less with HMA because construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation with Portland cement concrete (PCC) takes much longer.

How it works

HMA pavement design begins with a strong base layer that absorbs and diffuses the stress of heavy traffic, preventing the initiation of cracks. A strong, load-bearing intermediate layer is topped by a smooth, rut-resistant surface layer that seals out moisture and deicing materials. Altogether, HMA pavements can handle the toughest traffic punishment.

Major advantages

Because construction cost less initially, and proper maintenance extends the life for decades, HMA pavements last longer and cost less than concrete. HMA pavements require only periodic surface restoration, providing a smooth, durable pavement for decades. Maintenance is quick, cost-effective and less disruptive than with PCC pavements.

Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Life-Cycle Costs - Fast Facts

  • Reduces costs for initial construction.
  • Requires less maintenance over the life of the pavement.
  • Repaired and maintained cost-effectively with HMA overlays instead of complete removal and reconstruction with concrete.
  • When maintenance is needed, HMA offers the widest variety of alternatives geared to solve the precise problems on the roadway.
  • Can be overlaid to add structural capacity to account for increased traffic loading.
  • Eliminates the need for costly reinforcing materials, which are subject to corrosion, which lead to more frequent and more costly repairs.
  • Properly designed and constructed HMA pavements will last 50 years or more with occasional resurfacing, relieving road agencies of the need for costly, time-consuming and disruptive reconstruction.
  • HMA can be recycled (milled and replaced along with fresh materials), saving dollars and preserving nonrenewable natural resources.

More information

For more information on life cycle cost analysis and free software downloads to calculate life cycle costs, click here.