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The two posts above describe the situation well. The color of the aggregate used is a major variable in the coloration on the roads. Some of it may be dust that settles on the road and is pounded and

The asphalt is probably made from brown rock sourced from a local quarry. Possibly river related? Definitely unique.

I once spoke to a TDOT official as to why Memphis and West Tennessee has brown rock for its roads.  He said that West Tennessee gets more rain than the rest of Tennessee and river gravel was best suit

I once spoke to a TDOT official as to why Memphis and West Tennessee has brown rock for its roads.  He said that West Tennessee gets more rain than the rest of Tennessee and river gravel was best suited for the roads.

I guess I can see his point but it's kind of a shame because the roads have that worn out look-brown tends to be the color of decay and West Tennessee being the poorest part of the state it just adds insult to injury.

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I agree with VSJR, it's also brown south on 55 through Jackson, but I-10 along the coast has the typical black asphalt. I like the brown because it is so unique. Here in San Diego, most of the freeways are concrete but a large portion of the freeways that are made out of asphalt are also brown.

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On 2/12/2019 at 4:19 PM, bnacincy said:

I once spoke to a TDOT official as to why Memphis and West Tennessee has brown rock for its roads.  He said that West Tennessee gets more rain than the rest of Tennessee and river gravel was best suited for the roads.

I guess I can see his point but it's kind of a shame because the roads have that worn out look-brown tends to be the color of decay and West Tennessee being the poorest part of the state it just adds insult to injury.

I wouldn’t say it equates to the economic health of the area. It’s just different. Personally, I think concrete roads appear much worse as they age (looking at you, 440 in Nashville). The brownish asphalt isn’t nearly as jarring. But at the end of the day, it’s all a matter of preference. As long as the roads are well maintained, I don’t mind the color as much.

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 9:11 AM, smeagolsfree said:

Send this post over to PHofKS in the Nashville thread and he may be able to shed some light as he is retired from TDOT and was involved in a lot of the engineering of the roads in the state.

The two posts above describe the situation well. The color of the aggregate used is a major variable in the coloration on the roads. Some of it may be dust that settles on the road and is pounded and cemented into the pavement over the years.

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