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Climate change could explain why your roads are crumbling

The climate is changing, but the materials the United States is using for our roads aren’t keeping up. Before building a new road, engineers generally select the proper type of asphalt for the job based on the temperature extremes a region is likely to face—doing so can prevent a crackup on cold days or a meltdown on hot ones. But according to a new study, the temperature data used by engineers is woefully out of date, coming from 1964 to 1995, Ars Technica reports. The study, published this week in Nature Climate Change, found that such mistakes—which can shorten a road’s lifespan by 3 to 4 years—have already cost between $13 billion and $14 billion dollars, as of 2010. If nothing changes, the mismatch could cost the United States $35 billion by 2070. 

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