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Milwaukee may see first porous sidewalks

Thanks to a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan, the city of Milwaukee may soon see its first permeable sidewalks.

More than 3,000 square feet of pervious concrete will be poured adjacent to driveways on Edison and 72nd streets, if the grant is approved by the Common Council’s Public Works Committee next week.

When functioning properly, the pervious concrete allows water to flow through the walk and replenish the groundwater, as opposed to running off and into city sewers, said Ghassan Korban, the commissioner of the Department of Public Works.

When it doesn’t work – when debris impedes the flow of water – it functions like a normal sidewalk.

The $40,000 grant will mean that the cost of installing the new type of concrete will be the same as pouring a sidewalk made of standard concrete, said Korban.

This is the pilot phase of porous walks in Milwaukee, said Korban. He said some concerns include the durability and texture of pervious concrete. It’s also more expensive than standard concrete, and the city has more than 68 million square feet of standard sidewalk.

If it’s approved, the project will be bid out as part of street reconstruction projects.

One comment

  1. This is a nifty idea! It will be interesting to see how long it wears and how easily it is cleaned once it plugs up. Cool stuff!

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