Heckholzhausen, with only 900 inhabitants, is the smallest of four districts in the community of Beselich in Germany. When the community center was rehabilitated, in 2016, the decision was made to rehabilitate the village square of 600 m² and the adjacent streets as well. For this project, the responsible planners placed especially strict requirements on the paving material to be used. Although Heckholzhausen is a place with historic roots, most of its streets are asphalted and the walkways are paved with older concrete blocks. These pavements were not in keeping with the historic character of the village. In addition, unfortunately, unsightly damages had repeatedly occurred in the pavement.
As a result, rehabilitation of the village square was planned to take place, first, by providing the village with an appropriate pavement and by reestablishing the previous harmonious appearance. Designers searched for block paving that would pick up on the rural character and that, at the same time, would offer a durable and stable solution. Conventional pavements were ruled out from the start since, in the experience of the responsible planners, the required spacing of the joints had all too often not been observed. At first glance, pavements like these often appear stable – but sooner or later damage is bound to occur, since the block pavement, over time, will no longer be capable of distributing traffic loads over the surface.
The block paving system with shifting protection: Ideal VSS block paving
The design and execution of joints in accordance with DIN was therefore of particular significance. Due to the good experience that the planners had had with the Ideal VSS paving system, other areas previously laid by the block manufacturer Betonsteinwerk Hermann Meudt, this system was first choice for the project in Heckholzhausen. The special feature of this paving system – with blocks measuring 30 x 22.5 cm, 15 x 22.5 cm and 15 x 15 cm, with thickness of 10 cm – is their concealed spacers with integrated shifting protection. The combined-geometric design of the lugs ensures optimal filling of the joints and permits only absolutely minimum contact, if any, between the blocks.
This results in optimal transfer of forces to the neighboring blocks over the jointing material. With this solution, and given the expert execution of the joints, it was hoped to keep damage to the wearing course to a minimum. However, due to the tilt movements in the roadway, the planners decided here on a block from the heavier construction series of the Ideal pavers – without a displacement protection system, but with a thickness of 14 cm.
The color shade Muschelkalk – shell lime – gives the surface area an attractive flair
Apart from the stability properties, the appearance of the pavement in Heckholzhausen plays an important role. This was the reason for choosing the shell lime color shade (“Muschelkalk”). This color shade very well matches the historical building style of the community and gives the entire site an attractive flair. Stylistic visual accent is also provided by the Kerkerbach (dungeon creek), which runs in pipes underneath the village square. For the creek, a new open water course was created that meanders through the village and empties in a sweeping form into a small pond. This enhances the value of the entire space and optically returns the village to the center.
The rehabilitation works were completed in the fall of 2018. Experience since gained shows that neither the traffic loads imposed by the residents’ passenger cars, nor the regular loading by refuse vehicles has caused damage to the paved areas. On the contrary: the paved areas are not merely simply beautiful, but demonstrate that they are also stable enough to sustain the traffic loads imposed, and that they will therefore durably retain their good appearance. Another bonus point is that the VSS paver – constructed with sharp edges in accordance with DIN EN 1338 for concrete block paving – reduces vehicle tire rolling noise. In conclusion, it may be claimed that the pavement here is ideal for this application.