Pervious Concrete Improves Traction in Freezing Weather

Pervious concrete drains snowmelt, making pavements safter

I live in Madison, Wis., and yesterday we (or shall I say "Mother Nature") broke the all-time record for annual snowfall. So far this year Madison has seen 77.3 inches of snow (I do not have a snowblower). And last weekend I was skiing in Wisconsin's north woods, braving a 20-degrees-below-zero night with negative-50-degree windchills in a tiny cabin with an outhouse (the cold woke me up about four times in the night, reminding me to put wood in the stove).

What does this have to do with pervious concrete? While pervious installations have been increasing in popularity across the South, Southwest and many warm clients, it hasn't been so quick to catch on in states like Wisconsin where many people are skeptical of the application's abilities to hold up to the climate I just described -- feets of snow, extreme cold and freeze/thaw conditions.

A recent study, however, has found pervious concrete to perform well in freeze/thaw conditions with little maintenance required. The study also found that pervious concrete actually increases safety in parking lots and roadways by reducing icy conditions as melting snow runs through the pavement rather than re-freezing on it.

So, skeptics, here's your proof that pervious concrete is a viable option in cold-weather climates. Of course, proper design and installation is important in ensuring a pervious concrete is working up to its expectations. To learn more about pervious concrete, attend one of the NRMCA's educational seminars on pervious, or be aware that the PCA is offering free PDF downloads of its handbook "Hydrologic Design of Pervious Concrete" until March 31.