Pervious Concrete Intersections

City of Ionia

In the summer of 2012, a water truck opened its valve and let water pour out on the intersection of Lafayette Street and Jefferson Avenue in the City of Ionia, and the water soaked through the pavement immediately. Bystanders watched as no puddles formed — no one’s feet got wet.

How was this possible? Ionia recently repaved this intersection with permeable concrete.

Built along the Grand River, Ionia has several East/West streets on severe slopes that create a stormwater challenge for the city.

P&N’s team recommended using porous concrete pavement on the Lafayette/Rich and Jefferson intersections. The pavement and the specially–designed aggregate under it will promote natural infiltration and reduce the load on Ionia’s stormwater system. This is the first use of porous concrete in a public right–of–way in Michigan.

These intersections require a different type of maintenance than traditional streets do, but they are expected to last as long as traditional pavement.

Permeable concrete costs 40% more than traditional concrete because of the contents of the mix, but a surface does not need to be completely covered in permeable concrete to be effective. Parking lots, for example, can be covered 10% and still effectively manage stormwater. You can expect pervious concrete to last for between 20 and 30 years.

This project did see issues when severely cold weather hit this Michigan community – milder climates may see better results.


Call Jason Washler, P.E. at 616-364-8491 Email at:

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