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Paving the way in Ontario

A deep dive into the findings of the 2024 Ontario Municipal Paving Forecast

July 1, 2024  By Amin Mneina



The Municipal Paving Forecast study, an ongoing initiative since 2016, is driven by Good Roads’ commitment to serve as the vital link between stakeholders in road and infrastructure matters. Spearheaded by Good Roads, this annual survey provides critical insights into the state of municipal paving. Looking into the key findings from the 2024 Municipal Paving Forecast study, there’s plenty to learn about, including the total paving tonnage across Ontario, paving sustainability practices and trends in Ontario, variations on standards specifications, and geographical analyses of total RAP available and total RAP consumed in 2024.

Projected use of 1.2 million metric tonnes of Hot-Mix Asphalt
As we set our sights on 2024’s construction season, Ontario municipalities are projected to utilize a staggering 1.2 million metric tonnes of hot-mix asphalt (HMA) in their ongoing efforts to construct and maintain a robust network of roads. It is worth noting that the 1.2M tonnes only accounts for municipal capital and maintenance projects, and does not account for paving completed by land developers or the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. To put this into perspective, this quantity of asphalt would be sufficient to pave the Ontario 401 highway a remarkable four times over. The graphic below illustrates the 2024 paving forecast broken down by four distinct geographical regions: north, central, southwest, and southeast. 

This comprehensive survey draws on the input of an impressive 55 municipalities throughout Ontario, encompassing feedback from all major municipalities which account for 47 per cent of the urban population in Ontario. Compared to the previous year, we note a 4 per cent uptick in paving tonnage among southwest municipalities, while northern municipalities show a decrease of 13 per cent in paving tonnage, central showing a decrease of 7 per cent, and southeast showing a decrease of 9 per cent. Overall, we observe a 5 per cent decrease in HMA paving tonnage across all Ontario municipalities when compared to the previous year’s paving season. 

A Positive direction toward sustainability
In 2024, Ontario municipalities continued to make considerable strides towards sustainability through utilizing deferent recycling and green technologies. Such efforts in 2024 are projected to result in offsetting a staggering 1M metric tonnes of CO2 through the use of:

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  • 114,053 tonnes of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP)
  • 613 km of in-place recycling 
  • 353,908 tonnes of warm-mix asphalt (WMA)

According to the 2024 Ontario Paving Report, Ontario has a substantial 3.6 million tonnes of RAP across 94 facilities, of which municipalities are projected to utilize 114,053 tonnes in 2024 resulting in estimated savings of $15 million for taxpayers. 

Figure 3

At present, 71 per cent of Ontario municipalities have permitted the use of RAP, with an increasing number of municipalities embracing this eco-friendly technique, evidenced by at least seven municipalities amending their specifications to accommodate RAP in the past four years. Notably, the data presented in this chart derives from feedback provided by 185 municipalities across Ontario, with a comprehensive breakdown of these results observable in Figure 3 above.

Meanwhile, Figure 4 shows a spatial representation of the available RAP and consumed RAP in 2024. It is worth mentioning that Good Roads’ studies on quantifying RAP in Ontario, which started in 2019 and lead to the publishing an annual Paving and RAP report, have inspired the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to consider using 100 per cent cold RAP mixes, relying on the data supporting the availability of abundant quantities and widely-spread RAP stockpiles. 

Figure 4

MTO recently completed a trail project on Highway 3 on Cayuga that successfully used 100 per cent cold RAP mix in the base course, with the Ministry reporting promising results for the project. 

Municipalities keep pothole repairs in-house
Municipalities conduct comprehensive studies to effectively manage their road assets, employing various preservation and rehabilitation techniques. However, a shared practice among them is the frequent repair of potholes to comply with the Ontario Minimum Maintenance regulation. On average (excluding outliers), each municipality fixed 3,700 potholes in 2023. Including all responses, Ontario municipalities collectively fixed 0.5M potholes in 2023, with 89 per cent of municipalities relying on in-house maintenance crews to fix these potholes. Explained by higher truck traffic, the central zone has seen the most potholes per lane kilometers compared to other regions, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5

Industry shift toward eco-friendly practices continues
In conclusion, the findings of the 2024 Municipal Paving Forecast study shed light on the tireless efforts of Ontario municipalities in paving and maintaining their road networks. With a projected utilization of 1.2 million metric tonnes of hot-mix asphalt (HMA), municipalities are poised to tackle the challenges of infrastructure upkeep in the upcoming construction season. 

The commitment to sustainability is evident through the adoption of recycling and green technologies, anticipated to offset a significant amount of CO2 emissions. The increasing acceptance and utilization of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) underscores the industry’s shift towards eco-friendly practices.

As road management continues to evolve, municipalities remain dedicated to preserving and enhancing the infrastructure that connects Ontario. Through ongoing studies and collaboration, they look to meet the demands of both present and future generations and ensure safe, efficient transportation networks for all. 

Check out the entire report at: https://goodroads.ca/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/2024-Good-Roads-RAP-Report.pdf.


Amin Mneina is Good Roads’ senior specialist of technical programs & research.


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