It may be hot in Utah, but in Arizona, it’s intense. A recent CBS News story mentioned that about 300 people die per year in the Phoenix area because of extreme heat. David Hondula, the director of heat response and mitigation for the state of Arizona, told CBS News: "Here in Phoenix, the number of people who die from homicides every year is about on par with the number of people who die from heat." Large cities are warming at twice the global average because of the urban heat effect. Buildings, pavements of concrete and asphalt, and the many various structures trap much more heat than smaller towns with more greenery and less roads. In 2020, Phoenix experienced its hottest summer ever recorded with over 50 days of 110 degrees or more and 28 nights where the temperature didn’t dip below 90 degrees. Without the cooling effect at night, the stress on asphalt and concrete can be extreme and damaging. To combat this issue, Phoenix and other cities such as Los Angeles and Miami have appointed heat officers to implement mitigation measures. With their efforts, these cities should be able to better manage the excruciating heat during the summer months.
Phoenix is working right now to create 100 cool corridors, which means they are planting trees along specific roadways to shade the pavement. They hope these trees will bring the ambient air temperature down by almost 40 degrees compared to traditional corridors. They are also studying the benefits of reflective roofs and cooling sidewalks. Hondula hopes these measures will provide a cooler Phoenix immediately and for the future, even as climate change continues. Phoenix is also applying a special sealant to their asphalt streets that is gray rather than black. This special sealant reflects the burning desert sun rather than absorb it. Phoenix’s mayor, Kate Gallego, told CBS that the new technique cools pavement by 10 to 12 degrees. So far, they’ve applied the sealant to 73 miles of city streets and Gallego says the residents are already feeling a difference.
The heat certainly takes its toll on asphalt surfaces, but it’s not just the temperature that’s the problem. The sun’s UV rays deteriorate asphalt over time, damaging and fading roadways and parking lots. In this harsh environment, asphalt can get soft spots, can ripple or crack, and may degrade so much that it creates dangerous driving hazards. It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Desert locations can still have quality asphalt, and it is still a great option for pavements under consistent heat stress. Using quality products, hiring a professional team of workers, and keeping up on a proper maintenance schedule is the key to creating safe and durable roadways and parking lots. Go Pave Utah has worked under practically every condition mother nature can throw at us and understands the unique needs of concrete in Utah. Our asphalt here may not see consistently hot temperatures like Phoenix, but it still requires expert care. For all your asphalt needs, get in touch with Go Pave Utah.