Benefits of Concrete Parking
Walmart Parking Lot Stands the Test of Time
Concrete parking lots offer superior performance compared to pavement alternatives. Incorporating straightforward design and ease of construction, concrete pavement is also the economical choice for the long-term. Because of its strength, durability, and minimal maintenance requirements, concrete parking is like money in the bank.
It was May of 1980. "Call Me" by Blondie and "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc. were the top songs. The Russians occupied Afghanistan. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were tearing up the basketball court. The Oldsmobile Cutlass was the number one selling car in America. Walmart store number 293 opened in Navasota, Texas. It was a long time ago!
Flash forward 30 plus years to now. Think of how much the world has changed. The United States is now in Afghanistan and Oldsmobile is no longer around. But one thing is constant, the durability and strength of concrete as a building material is without question: that concrete parking lot placed in early 1980 at that Texas Walmart is still there and doing its job.
Just ask the Romans, with many structures over 2,000 years old still being used today. Modern concrete has proven its long-term value on countless occasions. There are numerous examples of local streets in the U.S. that have been in service for over 100 years. Route 66, an icon of America’s history, is approaching 100 years old in many rural areas where the original pavement is still in use.
But this is a Walmart parking lot, not a famous road or aqueduct. So why does it matter? First, it saves Walmart money. When you look at the cost of competing materials that last in months and years versus concrete that lasts decades, centuries or millennia, the money savings can be significant. Anecdotal evidence from the parking lot market as well as hard data from the road market shows asphalt costing twice as much over its life cycle when compared to concrete pavements. You heard right, twice as much.
Then of course there is the environmental impact. Concrete parking lots have a lower life cycle carbon footprint, require less lighting, have a lower impact on global warming and the heat island effect. The list of sustainable attributes goes on and on.
The photos show Walmart #293’s parking lot doesn’t look new anymore, but at 31½ years old it shouldn’t. But it still gets the job done and with proper maintenance has the potential for many more years of service life. If you assume an asphalt parking lot needs an overlay every seven years then there would be five layers of asphalt that would have been placed to get to this point. How much would that cost? What impact would that have on the environment? Would that inconvenience customers?
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