Permeable Pavement for Road Salt Reduction

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  07/08/2020


Permeable pavement proves helpful when snow and ice are thawing, but insulate so well that snow and ice are slower to melt than on standard pavements treated with salt until temperatures rise and stay at or above freezing. Researchers used photography, friction testing and temperature gauges to evaluate the performance of permeable pavements untreated by road salt and impermeable pavements treated with road salt at shared locations throughout Minnesota. At freezing and below temperatures, permeable pavements seem to retain snow and ice on the surface longer than regular paving treated with road salt, and friction testing during winter showed mixed performance for permeable pavement in terms of driving safety. Used in residential and parking applications by a number of Minnesota road agencies, permeable pavement moves water well in nonfreezing weather and improves the impact of runoff and water quality. It also works well during periods of thaw, when regular pavement experiences pooling and refreezing that makes driving treacherous. For residential streets and parking lots, permeable pavement can function to capture (infiltrate) meltwater before it refreezes and eliminate the most dangerous conditions on these surfaces.

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