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Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) Forecast

Washington, D.C.--Now working their way into local development regulations, low impact development (LID) approaches are spreading quickly across the U.S. Their adoption represents a shift away from stormwater detention/retention to working with natural processes in land development that decrease pollution and related public costs. An increasing number of cities embrace LID as they no longer can continue to bear rising costs of managing stormwater runoff and energy-related urban heat island costs from an ever-expanding area of impervious cover--roofs, parking lots and streets. On-site infiltration is a LID pillar that helps restore groundwater recharge for thirsty cities, reduce property loss from downstream erosion and flooding, and create cooler, more-energy efficient, livable cities. Site-scale LID infiltration technologies that mimic natural process present some of the most cost-effective approaches.

A growing LID technology is permeable interlocking concrete pavement (PICP). Experts on PICP from 17 countries presented papers and case studies on the latest research and experiences at the 8th International Conference on Concrete Block Paving--”Sustainable Paving for Our Future,” November 6-8, 2006, at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Hosted by the ICPI Foundation for Education & Research, the conference focused on PICP and LID benefits through reduced runoff and water pollution, cleaner air through pollutant-absorbing surface treatments, reduced urban heat island and electricity consumption through high reflectivity surfaces and evaporation.

Besides LID approaches, recent national and state legislation mandates the reduction of stormwater runoff and water pollution through best management practices (BMPs). Such practices can include street sweeping, detention ponds, green roofs, bioswales and permeable surfaces like PICP. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated PICP as a BMP and an increasing number of states have adopted this technology into their design manuals used by localities as guidance for compliance with the Clean Water Act and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations. An increasing number of cities restrict impervious cover and PICP is moving to the front as a means to satisfy local regulations. Older cities are looking at PICP as a way to reduce combined sewer overflows, i.e., storm and sanitary sewer discharges into rivers and lakes when rainstorms exceed waste treatment plant capacities.

ICPI is a trade association whose mission is to increase the use of segmental concrete pavement systems in North America. Applications for concrete pavers include driveways, patios, walkways, roofs, airports, streets, ports, and stadiums. ICPI members include producers, contractors, design professionals and consultants. ICPI promotes the product standards through ICPI product and installation certifications.

ICPI also publishes Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute Magazine.

The Beauty of Brick, or More Asphalt?

This historic part of Fort Wayne, Ind. is tied to the city's nearly three miles of brick road. Elsewhere, the city lays down at least 50 miles of asphalt and eight miles of concrete every year.

Cities across the country with a bit of history often face a dilemma when it comes times to reconstruct old hardscapes. Should the historic hardscape be reconstructed of the same material?

In Fort Wayne, Ind., for instance, the city fathers are pondering just this scenario--what to do with about three miles of brick streets that need work. On Wilt Street, to rebuilt a 280 ft. stretch with recycled brick cost about $137,000, three times more than conventional paving, a price tag that probably would have nixed the new hardscape if not for the $64,000 in economic development tax revenues that went to the project.

Although there are large historic homes in the city, Wilt Street is comprised of small wood and brick homes built in the 1870s, homes to working-class people who earned their living with the Wabash-Erie Canal, the railroads and other industrial enterprises. Today, Wilt Street is surrounded by factories.

The city has an annual road construction budget of nearly $15 million. Like other cities with historic brick streets, it must decide whether to foot the bill for that yesteryear look (expense and longevity) vs. asphalt (cheaper, shorter life span).


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February 17, 2020, 1:51 pm PDT

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