Porous Asphalt Pavement: An Overview

Porous Asphalt Pavement: An Overview

Porous asphalt is one neat way to deal with stormwater runoff.

Asphalt is more than just asphalt today. There are multiple types of asphalt, and their technology continues to develop as asphalt manufacturers find better ways to create efficient, affordable pavement material for roads and parking lots on all terrains. One type of asphalt material that has been gaining ground is porous asphalt pavement, which helps conserve communities especially during the rainy season. Here is a brief look at porous asphalt pavement and what it has to offer.

What Is Porous Asphalt Pavement?

Porous asphalt pavement, also known as permeable asphalt pavement, is asphalt that allows water to drain directly through its porous surface and sublayers into the earth. It has multiple layers, also called courses: a porous asphalt course, a top filter course, a reservoir course, possibly a bottom filter course, filter fabric, and either existing or treated soil. 

The top filter course consists of about 2 inches of crushed gravel, and the reservoir course contains stones within a storage volume large enough to hold the draining water and deep enough to withstand frost. The reservoir course is 8-9 inches deep.

Advantages of Porous Asphalt Pavement

Cost Savings

The installation costs of permeable asphalt pavement are about the same as those of traditional asphalt. Porous asphalt might cost less than solid asphalt, but it comes with additional sublayers that even out the cost. Even so, permeable asphalt pavement does reduce the need for other stormwater management systems like retention ponds and storm drains.

Reduced Splash & Spray

This type of paving material also reduces the amount of splash and spray produced by vehicles on wet pavement. It allows roads to stay drier and vehicles to drive more smoothly even in heavy rain. It could potentially decrease the risk of hydroplaning as well.

Reduced Stormwater Runoff

Of course, it successfully performs what it was designed to do, reduce stormwater runoff. It reduces the streams and puddles of rainwater that can swamp streets and parking lots in a torrential storm. It gives storm drainage systems a lighter load and allows the water to seep back into the soil as it would naturally.

Maintenance Needs

Porous asphalt runs the risk of getting its pores clogged by dust, dirt, and deicing materials like sand and salt. Appropriate personnel need to inspect the pavement for clogging, clean it regularly, and use chemical deicers rather than grainy materials.


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022 at 4:01 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.