The Ray is always looking to implement technologies that will transform the transportation infrastructure of the future, like the material used to make the road itself. Asphalt and concrete are the two most common materials used to surface roadways today. This is evident on The Ray Highway. Miles 1 to 13 are made of asphalt and miles 13 to 18 are made of concrete. Last month, we talked about asphalt rejuvenation and how we can extend the life cycle of asphalt roads. Today, we are focusing on new concrete solutions for roadways. There are two kinds of concrete, permeable and impermeable, that can be used to drive innovation on our nation’s highways.
“”"Concrete is a desirable choice of material for roads with heavy traffic because it is less prone to wear and tear like cracking, rutting, and potholes."
The most commonly used concrete on roads is impermeable concrete. Concrete is a desirable choice of material for roads with heavy traffic, especially those with truck traffic. It is often used instead of asphalt because it is less prone to wear and tear like cracking, rutting, and potholes. Impermeable concrete is strong and durable. It has a service life of 40 to 50 years, can withstand extreme weather conditions, and it allows vehicles to consume 15-20% less fuel than they would on asphalt roads. One Atlanta based company, Megaslab, has created a concrete solution that takes the durability and sustainability of impermeable pavement to the next level. Megaslab’s concrete is jointless which reduces maintenance, eliminates the need for rebar, and increases the concrete life cycle. The company also injects CO2 into their concrete to reduce their carbon emissions by 5% and their concrete mixture and slab structural design help further reduce their carbon emissions by up to 50%.
Permeable concrete is a special type of concrete that allows water to pass directly through, reducing runoff and allowing groundwater recharge. It is most commonly used in parking lots, residential roads, and other low traffic areas because it has a lower load bearing capacity than impermeable concrete. A significant advantage of permeable pavement is its stormwater management. By reducing stormwater runoff, permeable pavement reduces water pollution and makes for more effective land use. Using permeable concrete on roads could be a new frontier towards more sustainable roads. Verdecreto is a Mexican based company that has been testing permeable concrete parking lots. Verdecreto’s solution focuses on the sustainability and safety of their concrete. Verdecreto concrete helps reduce water pollution by filtering through the road instead of over the road, and it helps reduce events of skidding and hydroplaning by quickly draining water from roads.
Both permeable and impermeable concrete have the potential to make our highways safer, smarter, and more sustainable. Did we convince you of one over the other? Is there another concrete solution we should have included? Let us know in the comments. As always, if you know of any technology or innovation that you think would be amazing on The Ray, tell us through our Suggest a Tech page, so you can be featured on our next blog post! We love hearing about new ideas here at The Ray.