10Listens: New asphalt reduces splash & accidents

It's called open-grated friction course, and its more porous, allowing rain to seep through it and run off to the shoulder.

Driving is no fun on rainy days!! Turns out, though, some places may not be as bad as others.

One very observant 10News viewer noticed that on some parts of the interstate, there was actually less splash when other vehicles drove by. He asked if there was something different about the asphalt in those areas.

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And he's right!

There are actually two different types of asphalt on the major highways that run through and near Knoxville, according to TDOT, and the newer type actually absorbs water.

It's called open-grated friction course, and its more porous, allowing rain to seep through it and run off to the shoulder. This eliminates standing water, which means no spray and less risk of hydroplaning and increased visibility.

It's already decreased accidents in one part of Knoxville.

"The section in downtown Knoxville, we tried it there because we had had a high crash rate in there. It's actually reduced crashes in that section there at 17th Street around 50 percent," said Randy Busler, TDOT's District Operations Manager.

This type of asphalt works best on major roadways like interstates.

You can find it on almost all of I-275, from the Holston River bridge to Sevier County on I-40, and the 17th Street exit off I-40. Crews also used it on I-75 north in parts of Anderson and Campbell counties and a section of I-75 south in Monroe County.

TDOT expects to use it this year on I-40 near Dandridge and some in Cocke County.

There's not much difference in price, and this is now TDOT's preferred option for repaving highways.