AUSTIN (KXAN) - A different type of asphalt on Mopac means safer drivingconditions when Mother Nature lets loose.
The TexasDepartment of Transportation is resurfacingMoPac from Ranch Road 2222 to Enfield Road this summer.It’s a $3.5 million project that’s not using the typeof asphalt you’re used to driving on.
Instead, TxDOT is using permeable friction course. PFC is moreporous than standard asphalt, letting water run through it insteadof sitting on top.
TxDOT has used it in other projects, including RM 1431 just westof Cedar Park and on Highway 183 in Williamson County.
“We’re well past the experimental stage,” saidJohn Hurt, with TxDOT. “We feel real comfortable usingit.”
Drive down RM 1431 near Cedar Park, and you won't noticeanything out of the ordinary most of the time. When you’redriving in a rainstorm, however, there’s a bigdifference.
TxDOT used PFC when they repaved the stretch several years ago.The PFC reduces the spray from vehicles in front of you and thethreat of hydroplaning during a rain event.
"Before they started using the new surface, anytime there wasrain, you’d see someone sliding, going over the centerline,” said Richard Pitts, with Just for You Florist along RM1431. “It was just really, really bad."
PFC is a good option for MoPac because the highway is mainlystraight.
“Stone-matrix asphalt, a more dense asphalt, handlesforces better,” said Hurt. “So in roadways where we dohave a lot of winding, turning movements, we’ll still usethat particular type of treatment.”
The construction on MoPac will take place at night between 9p.m. and 5 a.m. It will involve lane closures, so TxDOT is warningdrivers to use caution.
“We ask for people’s patience but also that they becareful,” said Hurt. “Night jobs are spooky under thebest of circumstances.”
The project will wrap up in September.
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