TDOT installing special asphalt to cut down on hydroplaning - WSMV Channel 4

TDOT installing special asphalt to cut down on hydroplaning

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Drivers might be uneasy about the possibility of hydroplaning when it rains on some roads in Nashville, but a new kind of pavement is working to cut down on that risk.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has been laying a different kind of asphalt on the roads that have been re-paved in the past two years called open-grade friction course.

"Lane departures are the No. 1 cause of death in Tennessee, and we want to keep all of our drivers safe and on our roads," said Jay Norris, TDOT assistant director of construction.

The new asphalt has been designed specifically for better traction in the rain.

"We're able to lay that down with the same size rock and a special asphalt that has fibers in it and has tensile strength to hold it together. So whenever it rains, the waters pour out through it. If you can imagine a Rice Krispy treat, and then drains out an impermeable layer beneath it," Norris said.

One location where drivers have noticed an improvement in driving during rainy weather is along northbound Interstate 65 near Harding Place, where there is hardly any spray from cars and few wrecks caused by hydroplaning.

"So, if you are driving up I-65 from Alabama or coming in from Kentucky on I-24, you'll see several miles of this. And you'll see it in several other areas of Middle Tennessee as well," Norris said.

The plan is for this asphalt to eventually be on all roads, since it costs about the same and lasts just as long as the other asphalt.

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