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When the Snow Melts

When will winter end? According to Punxsutawney Phil, we still have a few weeks to go. Many of the cities where Unilock manufactures concrete pavers and retaining walls have endured record temperatures and snow falls. In Chicago, this year’s snow accumulation ranks 4th in all time snow fall totals. To date they have received over 60 inches of snow and winter isn’t over yet. As we head into March warmer temperatures will eventually arrive but what happens when all this snow melts? Where will all the water go?

In many cities around the country, stormwater and flooding are big topics. Snow melts can have the same effect as a large rainfall event causing flash flooding. Several cities, like Chicago, are responding to flooding issues by implementing green infrastructure into existing projects. Last fall the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) did just that, installing a permeable paver parking lot, supplied by Unilock. MSI has been around since the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Known as the Chicago World’s Fair, MSI was originally built as the Palace for Fine Arts. It was renamed to MSI in 1933 and now, 120 years after it was originally built, they have installed a one and a half acre permeable paver parking lot.

Designed by Stanley Consultants and Carol Yetken Landscape Architects, the parking lot was built as a bus drop off area for school children visiting the museum. It features six drop off bays with Optiloc® pavers, drive aisles and employee parking with Eco-Optiloc™ permeable pavers and uses Eco-Priora™ permeable pavers for the pedestrian walking and crosswalk areas. The crosswalks have a slip-resistant, exposed granite face with Onyx Black Series 3000® finish. This adds visual contrast from the field of Eco-Optiloc™ permeable pavers and helps guide the children. Using these permeable pavers reduces any water ponding on the pavement surface from snow melts or other rainwater events and won’t refreeze on the surface at night.