Siloam Springs recently built a drainage ditch with a material the city has never used before that allows storm water to soak into the ground.

The drainage ditch, which spans from 1901 to 1909 W. Jefferson St., was upgraded with a porous concrete blanket made by ArmorFlex, according to Justin Bland, city engineer.”The reason we are using that instead of solid concrete is when we got the permit back from the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers,” Bland said, “they wanted us to use something that the water can soak back in.”

Bland estimates the ArmorFlex blocks were 10 percent to 20 percent higher than what the concrete-lined channel would have cost. The total cost of the project was $239,198 or $10.08 per block, he said. The ArmorFlex blocks are precast concrete blocks, which have cables holding them together so they can be laid on the ground, Bland said.