A Stretch of the Tollway That Sucks, Quietly

A STRETCH OF THE TOLLWAY THAT SUCKS, QUIETLY The Harris County Toll Road Authority is hoping its first expanse of Permeable Friction Course asphalt will reduce accidents caused by hydroplaning: “Taking a pitcher, [HCTRA engineer Quinton] Alberto poured water on a one-foot square block of PFC asphalt sitting in a plastic tray. Instead of running off as it would on concrete or regular asphalt, the water was absorbed — almost instantly. The water then trickled to the bottom and out the sides. It works because the PFC asphalt is full of tiny holes and air pockets that allow rainwater to drain through it. On RM 1431 in Austin, TxDOT says the PFC asphalt is a big reason why there has been a dramatic decrease in wet-weather accidents. Before laying down the new pavement, wet weather accidents accounted for nearly 60 percent of all crashes. After the PFC, they accounted for less than 10 percent. In Harris County, the Toll Road Authority is using PFC for the first time, spending $4 million to pave a five-mile section of Beltway 8 between US 290 and SH 249. The authority picked the section because it said in just the last two years, there have been over a hundred injury accidents there, many in wet weather.” [11 News]