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Title: Concrete vs Asphalt: Pavement and Lighting Costs in Italian Road Tunnels

Author(s): Paola Di Mascio and Laura Moretti

Publication: Symposium Paper

Volume: 326


Appears on pages(s): 71.1-71.10

Keywords: asphalt pavements; concrete pavements; life cycle cost analysis; lighting; tunnel management

DOI: 10.14359/51711054

Date: 8/10/2018


This paper compares the life-cycle costs of pavement and lighting when different pavement types are built in road tunnels. Two pavements, rigid and flexible, during 20 and 30-year service life and for different traffic conditions were analyzed. Tunnel lengths between 750 m [2,460 ft] to 2,000 m [6,562 ft] were considered.

The methodologies used to design and maintain both the pavements and the LED lighting systems complied with the Italian standards and practices. Based on this information, the net present values of the construction and maintenance costs for the pavement and the tunnel lighting system were computed.

The results show that for tunnels longer than 1,200 m, [3,937 ft] with a concrete pavement lighting and road-related construction costs are higher than those obtained with an asphalt pavement. However, after just a few years and due to its low pavement maintenance and lighting system costs, the concrete pavement presents a break-even point, becoming a superior alternative. On the other hand, the option of using concrete pavement in tunnels shorter than 1,200 m [3,937 ft] offers a cheaper solution since the construction year. It was also found that the expected traffic level in the tunnel slightly impacts the economic analyses.