Concrete, Asphalt, Gravel

Ranging from large, multi-use trails that offer a wide variety of recreation and transportation uses to nature trails that create opportunities to enjoy the natural environments within a city, most people would agree that trails help contribute to the overall quality of life. As more cities embrace the popularity of trails and add to their inventory, officials end up dealing with some difficult issues regarding costs. Balancing the initial cost of development with long-term maintenance costs becomes increasingly important as …


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5 comments on “Concrete, Asphalt, Gravel

  1. Scott Erickson on said:

    There is a hybrid way to enjoy the benefits of the three trail surfaces. Path designers can now chose pervious concrete pavement that provides the durability of concrete. It can be made using fine crushed asphalt rock that will look more natural rock pathways than standard concrete-it can even be colored brown if desired. Path designers may also want to take a look at new paving equipment for the pervious concrete that can dramatically decrease the cost of installing the concrete pavement. There is a video on our website that shows the paver installing pathways in an Austin, Texas public park.
    The pervious concrete is also listed as a best management practice by the Environmental Protection Agency and it complies with new stormwater treatment requirements that requires treatment for stormwater runoff.
    Scott Erickson

  2. Daniel E. Clem on said:

    Pervious concrete, particularly fine-grain pervious concrete, could be used to gain the benefit of zero runoff with the strength and durability of concrete. Pricing is about the same, and the benefits are greater. We’ve installed over 100,000 square feet of pervious concrete trails and pathways in the last two years, with increasing demand for use of pervious concrete.

    • Connie Edmonston on said:

      Where are you from? We were always told that pervious concrete cost more. What is the maintenance required of pervious concrete? Does your city build their own trails? Do you have the spec for pervious concrete composition? I really look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks.

    • Jo Hickson on said:

      Can you give me typical costs per SY for fine grain pervious concrete trail, 10-ft wide? Also, annual maintenance costs per mile?

      Please advise.

  3. Norm Ziesmer on said:

    It would be better if trail surfacing can be chosen to match the use of the trail. Often multiple trail surfaces are most appropriate, for example a wood chip trail next to a paved trail. We have ongoing conflicts over solid surfaces vs more resilient surfaces from our trail users.

    One trail surface not mentioned is interlocking pavers. These have the great maintenance advantage of being able to replace small sections and replace them with very little material cost. Areas of tree roots, frost heaves, salt/de-icer damage or trenching can benefit by the advantages of pavers. Pavers are also very popular with the public, at least here. Because of the economic downturn we are finding the initial cost of pavers is getting lower and is in many cases less than good concrete.

    Despite the cost I’m not sure there is a better multi-use surface than a well maintained fine gravel. I’d rather put money into good maintenance practices than up-front materials. Creating more entry level trail maintenance positions might be a good use of funds in the current high unemployment era.

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