Asphalt Specifications and Research Challenges in Colombia

As is the case with most Latin American countries, Colombia is facing rapid economic growth. Yet, in terms of meeting the upcoming challenges and demands, the transport infrastructure of the country is lacking. In particular, the Colombian road infrastructure is one of the most under-developed in the region. The preparation of ambitious road projects has been motivated by the situation, and these are increasing the demand for high quality asphalt materials. The asphalt market in Colombia is currently controlled by a Colombian oil company called Ecopetrol. This is the only company, by law, authorized to produce and commercialize asphalt binder in the country. An average of 22,000 tons of asphalt binder are produced by month by this company in two different refineries; this amount equals almost half of the actual capacity of the refineries. Penetration is still the basis of specifications for asphalt binders in Colombia, and it is unlikely that a modification to performance-based specifications will occur in the short term. Nonetheless, there are two actors in the country that are becoming significant promoters of changes, as follows: universities and contractors, particularly those in road concession projects. World-class research is being conducted in the area of pavement engineering, and the expectation is that these results will have an impact on the paving industry. Yet, as an economical scheme that was developed for the first time in the 1990's with the goal of achieving better management of national roads, road concessions are assuming risks in order to optimize their operation by exploring the use of new materials and techniques. As a result, in the upcoming years, significant changes in the asphalt market and paving industry may be expected.


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  • Accession Number: 01523071
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 24 2014 11:58AM