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Climate and the Paving Season

In this week’s RoadReady Newsletter, we took a look at the effects of asphalt paving in cooler temperatures, and steps that can be taken to minimize the adverse effects of paving at night or later in the year. Ideally, roadway agencies like to perform the bulk of their projects in the paving season, or the part of the year where paving conditions are ideal. This generally starts in the spring or summer, and lasts until it gets too cold outside to pave. Because of the dependence on temperature, the ideal paving season varies heavily from place to place. For instance, paving in places like southern California or Arizona can proceed at just about any time of the year without temperature concerns. However, colder climates such as Minnesota and Michigan have a much shorter window, and are likely to undertake more projects where temperature is a factor.

In the tables below, we’ve provided some temperature data for cities around the U.S. and across the globe. Each entry indicates the average daily high for that month in that city in degrees Fahrenheit. Cold weather paving can be broadly defined as paving when the air temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Red numbers in the graph indicate months where the average daily high is above 60 degrees, and therefore paving can generally be safely conducted without worrying about cool paving measures. Green entries are those which fall between 50 and 60 degrees, indicating the range where temperature could become an issue depending on immediate conditions. Blue months are those where daily high falls below 50 degrees. In these ranges, cold paving measures will most likely be an important factor, if paving is conducted at all. Included is a map showing where in the U.S. the data is taken from. Note that because these are values of daily highs, any night paving will be in significantly colder temperatures than those shown.

Average daily high values by month in selected U.S. cities (degrees Fahrenheit)

Locations of U.S. temperature data

Average daily high values by month in selected international cities (degrees Fahrenheit)

For temperature data and additional cool paving resources, check out the following links:

National Climatic Data Center

Weatherbase.com

PaveCool (free pavement temperature software from MnDOT)

Temperature and Compaction Effects

U.S. Cities

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Atlanta, Georgia

52

56

64

73

80

86

89

88

82

73

63

54

Boise, Idaho

36

44

53

62

71

80

90

88

78

65

48

38

Chicago, Illinois

29

34

45

58

70

80

84

82

75

63

48

35

Denver, Colorado

43

47

52

62

71

82

88

86

77

66

52

45

Detroit, Michigan

32

34

44

58

69

79

83

81

74

62

48

36

Houston, Texas

62

66

72

79

85

90

93

93

88

82

72

65

Lincoln, Nebraska

34

40

50

65

75

85

91

89

80

69

52

39

Los Angeles, California

66

67

69

71

73

77

82

83

82

77

73

67

Miami, Florida

76

77

80

83

86

88

89

90

88

85

80

77

Minneapolis, Minnesota

21

27

39

56

69

78

83

81

71

59

49

26

Missoula, Montana

33

39

48

57

65

73

84

83

71

57

41

32

New York, New York

38

40

50

61

72

80

85

84

76

65

54

43

Phoenix, Arizona

66

70

75

84

93

103

105

103

99

88

75

66

Richmond, Virginia

47

50

59

69

78

85

88

87

81

71

60

50

San Francisco, California

57

60

62

63

64

66

66

67

69

69

64

57

Seattle, Washington

45

49

53

58

64

69

74

74

68

60

51

47

St. Louis, Missouri

39

44

54

67

76

85

89

87

80

69

54

43

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