40 Is the New 20

Winter 2014

ICPI celebrates 20th year as industry turns 40

David R. Smith


40 Is the New 20

Interlock Design endeavors to present the best projects and practices for segmental concrete pavement design, construction and maintenance. We feature innovative projects supplied and built by ICPI members across the U.S. and Canada. Unlike some association publications, we generally avoid reporting on ICPI events; our goal is to demonstrate the range of applications and utility of segmental concrete pavements.

This issue furthers our goal. We present two technically and visually beautiful projects in opposite geographies, soils and climates to underscore that interlocking concrete and permeable interlocking concrete pavements work just about anywhere. But this issue also marks a milestone: It is the 80th one. That’s right; this quarterly magazine and ICPI are both celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.

Forty years ago, interlocking concrete pavement entered the North American market. Seeing industry growth in the U.K. and Europe, the new industry here evolved from concrete product manufacturing entrepreneurs. They fostered a departure from nondescript monolithic pavement by using segmental pavement with its unique engineering functions that define beauty.

They introduced a pavement unfamiliar to most designers and project owners, recognizing that the pavement industry is probably one of the most difficult when it comes to readily accepting new products. Paver manufacturers had to overcome the adage of never being the first or last in construction to do anything. This notion didn’t stop the interlocking concrete pavement industry in its early years, thanks to the intrepid efforts of early pioneers.

Perhaps a bigger barrier for market penetration was the entrenched, deeply institutionalized, conventional and, at that time, less expensive monolithic asphalt and concrete pavements. This barrier was due to governments at all levels owning mega-miles of these pavements for almost a century. The interlocking concrete pavement industry responded with projects and studies that addressed the shortcomings of monolithic pavements. As we enter 2014, the industry is in a great position. With today’s higher prices for conventional pavements and demand for reduced stormwater runoff, interlocking and permeable interlocking concrete pavements have found a solid niche among pavement choices.

Concrete paver manufacturing technology was initially imported from Germany to Toronto in the early 1970s and rapidly expanded across Canada and into the U.S. The industry evolved from about 40 million sf (3.7 million m2) in 1984 to over a half a billion sf (46.5 million m2) today. The following presents a timeline highlighting this decades’ long journey with a nod to some of the supporters along the way. The list is by no means all-inclusive of the people, companies and ICPI resources that have helped transform the market.