Permeable Pavement for Road Salt Reduction

Principal Investigator(s):

John Gulliver, Professor Emeritus, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Road salt (sodium chloride) is used for deicing roadways during winter months, but it can have a negative impact on the environment. There are already streams and lakes in the Twin Cities metropolitan area that are impaired by chloride, and other metropolitan areas in Minnesota are sure to follow. This research will investigate the reduction in road salt application during winter months that can be attained with permeable pavements while still providing acceptable road safety. Some initial investigations have suggested that road salt application can be substantially reduced, even eliminated, with permeable pavement systems. This research is investigating this hypothesis more thoroughly and further documenting the reduction in road salt application that can be expected with permeable pavement. The outcomes of this research will be to: 1) document the winter performance of permeable pavement to provide for safe driving conditions without salt addition, 2) investigate the temperature profile in the permeable pavement system under various winter conditions, 3) develop a simulation model that can predict permeable pavement performance under various winter conditions, and 4) provide education (outreach) through webinars, seminars, and online publication--including articles in UPDATES, a stormwater research e-newsletter distributed to 2,400 subscribers.

Project details:

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