Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Orange barrels on a highway

Pervious Concrete

Pervious pavement provides a solution for many highly developed urban areas where an excessive amount of contaminated water is diverted into storm and sewer systems and then left untreated before entering natural water sources such as rivers and streams. By allowing water to flow through the pavement surface and infiltrate the underlying soil, pervious pavements can reduce the amount of this pollution. However, concerns about the ability of pervious pavements to perform in Minnesota's extreme climate, maintenance needs, and the effect on groundwater quality needed to be better understood. In response to this need, a pervious concrete driveway was constructed in 2005 and two full depth, pervious concrete pavement test sections were constructed in 2008 on MnROADs low volume road. These test sections were used to evaluate the performance of pervious concrete pavements in a cold weather climate.

These test cells were instrumented with thermocouple and watermark sensors to monitor the pavements response to the environment, such as duration and frequency of freeze thaw cycles, temperature transmissivity and gradient, and drainage. The following tests have been conducted frequently over the years since construction to evaluate the changes in performance due to maintenance events (vacuuming), traffic, clogging, and seasonal effects: sound absorption, on board sound intensity, ride, surface rating, friction, texture, permeability, and many more. Results have shown that with regular maintenance (vacuuming more than two times a year), pervious concrete can provide many benefits besides just reduced runoff. Pervious concrete can concrete provide an extremely quiet surface by increasing sound absorption and decreasing the tire pavement interaction noise. The ride quality of the pervious test cells was maintained over the years and can be considered suitable for low volume road applications. Results from the previously listed testing are discussed in the reports and presentations below.

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