Beach Road at the south end of Lake George will be re-built this spring with an unconventional pavement: porous asphalt. Upon completion, Beach Road will become the first heavily traveled roadway in New York State (and one of the only roads in the Northeast) to be paved with porous asphalt.
“This is one of the most important lake saving projects ever for Lake George,” said Walt Lender, LGA executive director, “and a first of its kind for New York State,” he said. “The LGA recognizes both Warren County Superintendent of Public Works Jeff Tennyson, the state Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration for taking the bold steps to move forward on this revolutionary project, one we believe will get national recognition, and will set a precedent for many like it to follow in other lakeside communities,” said Lender.
The engineering firm of Barton & Loguidice (B&L) is designing the project, which has been funded with state, federal and county monies. Construction will begin in May of this year with completion in the fall of 2013. The porous pavement will be installed between Canada Street and Fort George Road.
Superintendent of Public Works for Warren County Jeff Tennyson said “Porous asphalt pavement is an innovative approach to storm water management. Where typical drainage systems collect storm water runoff from the road, send it to treatment structures and then outlet it, porous pavement instead allows the water to infiltrate through the road and into the subgrade where it will be filtered and then dissipate.” Tennyson went on to say, “Porous pavement is being used throughout the country under light traffic conditions, such as parking lots and small residential roads. However, this will be the first use of a full depth porous asphalt pavement system on a heavily traveled roadway in New York State. The setting and character of Beach Road sets it apart as the ideal location for such an experimental pavement. The environmental benefits we anticipate achieving with porous pavement will help preserve the natural beauty of Lake George.”
“Porous asphalt is very effective in draining rainwater after a storm, as well as melting snow. This project will greatly benefit the water quality of the lake,” said Randy Rath, LGA’s lake saving projects manager. “Stormwater is the number one source of contaminants entering Lake George. With a large amount of high intensity development in the south end of Lake George, the volume and rate of flow of stormwater is greatly increased. Many groups, including the LGA, have worked hard to capture and treat stormwater, keeping many contaminants, such as silt, salt and harmful nutrients, from entering the Lake. In contrast, the porous asphalt won’t generate runoff and the sediment below it will naturally filter out any contaminants as the precipitation enters the ground,” he said. The amount of salt detected in the south end of the lake has doubled in just over 20 years, threatening the Lake’s ability to serve as a source of drinking water.
“In addition to its drainage abilities, porous asphalt offers other advantages over conventional pavement,” explained Thomas Baird, project manager and chief engineer with B&L. “During winter months, ice and snow on the road that melt during a sunny afternoon will drain down to the lower layers and not re-freeze on the surface as temperatures drop again,” Baird continued.
“The porous surface actually becomes more effective, rather than less effective in the winter. For de-icing, it requires much less salt than conventional pavement, and is less susceptible to breaking down as a result of repeated freezing and thawing,” said Baird. With the proper design and foundation, the durability and strength of porous asphalt is comparable to conventional pavement, and in some applications it actually can cost less to install.
“The Beach Road project will certainly serve as an important demonstration for what porous asphalt can accomplish, especially in a waterfront setting,” said Rath of the LGA. “Many people around the state and the nation will be watching to see how it works,” he said.
“To determine the new road’s effectiveness, testing and water quality sampling will need to be conducted along the way, so we can quantify the results. We are looking for funding, and an agency or university research team to help set up and conduct testing,” said Baird.