The Basics of Asphalt: History III


Last Updated on July 15, 2024

We’ve been pleased to continue a series that started with the article The Basics of Asphalt. It’s been our goal to expand upon the different aspects and properties of asphalt to help you learn about asphalt and its many components. Lately, we’ve looked into the history of asphalt and have covered its ancient history as well as early roads. Today we’ll consider how asphalt was originally integrated into making roads and see just how far its use has come.

The First Asphalt Roads in America

The Basics of Asphalt: History IIIStarting in the late 1860s the very first bituminous mixtures produced in the United States were used in creating sidewalks, crosswalks, and even roads themselves. The first true asphalt pavement to be laid in the country was a sand mix that was used in front of City Hall in Newark, New Jersey. Other early asphalt projects in the United States include the paving of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. These two large projects, among many others, proved that American asphalt pavement was just as high quality as that which was imported from Europe.

The budding asphalt industry led many in a race to submit patents in the late 1860s. Fierce competition propelled many of these new patented mixes into being very successful and technically innovative. This growth led to widespread adoption of asphalt use and in 1896 New York City was using it instead of brick, granite, and woodblock.

Improvement Boom

The Basics of Asphalt: History IIIThe use of asphalt would continue to widen and the implementation for paving steadily improve. As WWII ended and families moved to the suburbs, road building would finally move to the next level of being a massive industry. Congress passed the State Highway Act in 1956 and it allotted $51 billion to the states for road construction. Because contractor projects were now on such a huge scale there was a need for bigger and better equipment, which led to some big changes and improvements in the asphalt industry, especially regarding machinery.

The 1950s saw electric leveling controls added to pavers and the early 1960s brought automated screen controls. In 1968 extra-wide finishers were introduced that were capable of paving two lanes at once.

Improvements in Asphalt Today

Because quality and improvement were so important in the asphalt industry and for our roads, the National Asphalt Pavement Association was established in 1955. One of its first and largest priorities was a Quality Improvement Program. This program sponsored asphalt testing at universities and private testing labs, using the results among members to improve the quality within the industry and for Americans everywhere.

We hope you’ve learned something about how asphalt roads were first implemented in the states and the many wonderful improvements that have been made in the industry. We work hard to continue that legacy and strive to perfect the use of asphalt, especially when it comes to serving you and your project needs. We are always trying to create a better and more cost-effective option for you and are here for ANY and ALL of your asphalt or pavement questions and needs.

Call us today or Click Here for a Free Quote on your asphalt paving needs.

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Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips
January 17, 2023.
Great company to work with. We contacted Top Job to repair a county road that we dug across for an irrigation line. They were very professional yet friendly. Our job was completed quickly. We recommend this company.
Sam Rowley
Sam Rowley
December 8, 2022.
I’m not sure how the service actually is, but some old guy in a Top Job Toyota was riding my butt today and flipped me off, or it was maybe an aggressive wave at the red light near the Logan library. Hope his day gets better. 12/8 at 230
Kim Rappleye
Kim Rappleye
December 7, 2022.
Very professional and personalized service. Highly recommended!
Mark Malmstrom
Mark Malmstrom
November 22, 2022.
They were easy to get a hold of and showed up when they were scheduled. Good communication and good work.
David Bunnell
David Bunnell
November 4, 2022.
I appreciated the pleasant attitude when talking w/the estimator as well as the scheduler. The work crew did a great job! I highly recommend Top Job Asphalt!
Steven Jacobsen
Steven Jacobsen
October 30, 2022.
Top job Asphalt did an amazing job on my project very professional, I would definitely use them again when I have the need.
Chris Salvesen
Chris Salvesen
October 28, 2022.
Did a great job on the 3" overlay for my very old and deteriorated half circle driveway. Looks brand new. All the transitions to concrete are near perfectly matched when I wasn't sure they could do it. It's almost weird now not feeling the bump driving out of the garage or over our bridge.
Matt Welch
Matt Welch
October 27, 2022.
Top Job paved our asphalt driveways and we couldn't be happier. The service, quality and price were the best I could find and I looked everywhere! Great job guys! I'll be calling back when I start my next project.
Todd Wardrop
Todd Wardrop
October 26, 2022.
I'm so impressed!!😀 Top Job has done such excellent work on my neighbor's driveway ... I'm so jealous. It's absolutely beautiful, and I can't believe how smooth it turned out. It's just perfect. What a great company!

What Our Customers Are Saying

Very impressed with the quality of their work and the organization of the company. The project estimator was spot on as to when the bid would be received and the work was professional  from start to finish. I appreciated the opportunity for a walkthrough inspection after the crack filling was completed as I had some very large cracks in the asphalt. I give this company a ten out of ten (which I really do) and highly recommend them.

Paul Pratt