GRIFFITH | The Town Council on Monday watched a short presentation on the Green Alley Modernization Project with about 70 interested residents.
The town plans to repave more than 60 alleys in town with porous asphalt, which allows water to seep down into the ground below rather than channeling it to storm sewers.
Conventional alleys paved with standard asphalt are peaked in the center so that rainwater flows to the curbs, said Ronald Wiedemann, of Robinson Engineering in Merrillville.
With porous asphalt, the special surface is paved so water pools in the center of the alley, where it can drain downward into the underlying soil, he said.
The alley project is part of the town's overall plan to repave the town's 75 miles of roads.
In announcing the project last month, Council President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, said the plan is to resurface 20 to 25 miles of residential roads this year along with all the alleys.
The alleys are being done first so that heavy equipment does not have to move over new road pavement, said Daniel McClure, project engineer for Walsh & Kelly Paving Contractors of Griffith.
"The new pavement will meet those existing elevations" so that garage aprons will line up with the new alley, McClure said.
Wiedemann said two alleys will be done this week to test how the special pavement will perform.
Work is set to begin on the two alleys between True and Wright streets, from Lake Street to the railroad tracks.
"We'll hopefully get some rain and see how it works," Ryfa said.
Ryfa said the project is being patterned after the Chicago Green Alley project, which has been around for a while.
"Everybody will be notified of approximately when their alley is going to be started" once the project begins, Ryfa said.
Council Vice President Glen Gaby, R-1st, said the town has already improved the downtown area and Central Park, and now it is time to do the neighborhoods.
"We're trying to improve the roads in front of the residents' houses" to encourage them to begin home improvements.
To that end, renovation permit fees have been reduced to $5 for the rest of the year, he said.