The road to Damme lets water through. No more concrete or asphalt roads!
Trees, the climate and people all win with the reconstruction of an 800 metre-long stretch of road in the town of Damme, West Flanders. Rainwater seeps into the ground between the paving stones, whereas it would have run off into the drains on concrete or asphalt.
The need to lay new electrical cables and separate drains prompted the town of Damme to abandon concrete and asphalt after the work was completed and pave the road with clinker. Water can penetrate the soil between the wider gaps, which are filled with small stones. It no longer runs off to the side, into the drains, as it once did. In a permeable street like this, the water table rises, which is of great benefit to the trees on the sides. Their roots no longer have to climb upwards to seek air and water in order to survive, which often leads to bulging and damage to the road. In addition, the water is absorbed into the soil and can run off quietly. This is a considerable climate advantage in an urban environment. Moreover, it is not necessary to dig deep to make clinker paving.
Water-permeable walkways and car parks are also becoming more common in the urban landscape. This is an environmentally and climate friendly alternative to traditional materials in areas where traffic is not too heavy. Fortunately, minds are changing.