ENVIRONMENT

How permeable concrete can reduce heat, improve drainage

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

Hudson Street in Hackensack looks like the Hudson River after heavy downpours. It’s a flash flooding scene that resembles countless other streets and roads after rainfall across New Jersey.

For years, towns have struggled to counter the flooding, some with big-budget infrastructure projects. Engineers at the local and state levels of government know part of the issue is impermeable asphalt, the kind that holds — instead of drains — water.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation was looking for answers and a way to reduce heat on roads and improve drainage. It turned to Rutgers researchers and asked them to apply their expertise. Their solution? Permeable concrete, which allows water to drain and evaporate and can even reduce heat after rainfall.

Professors say the permeable products could lead to cooler roadways, walkways and cities. The permeable concrete costs more than traditional concrete up front but is more cost efficient in the long run.