The Interlocking Block Pavement (IBP) Project, supported by Japan International Cooperative Agency (JICA), is starting its activities to introduce IBP as a new pavement standard in Solomon Islands.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID) is an implementor of this project. The project team is now piloting block fabrication at MID Laboratory in cooperation with Solomon Islands National University (SINU).
It is a type of road pavement with a surface of concrete blocks. The IBP concrete can be seen the stretch of the road in the Honiara centre behind the Point Cruz Hot Bread Kitchen, piloted in 2020.
Also, the in-yard rads of the Multi-Purpose Futsal Hall in Panatina were paved with concrete blocks in 2022.
In Solomon Islands, many roads have deteriorated surfaces. If it was IBP, the strength of the road surface is assured by the quality of the blocks, which is more accessible than concrete cast-in-place to control because the blocks are fabricated locally.
If any blocks are broken by chance, they can be patch-worked and replaced by new ones. The work of laying concrete blocks is labour-intensive and creates jobs for local people. IBP is unsuitable for high-speed road pavement due to unevenness, whereas it is suitable for connecting roads due to its durability.
As a part of the preparation, a one-day workshop was conducted on 24th April 2023, with representatives from SINU, staff of MID and the Project team. The trial is to perform test fabrication to determine the best proportion of materials to produce concrete blocks by hand. Several cases are made, and they are to be evaluated, given the easiness of production and strength.
The compression strength tests will be conducted 7 days, 14 days, and 28 days after production. After the evaluation, MID and the Project team decide on the block production process and conduct a series of workshops to test the fabrication of blocks at MID Laboratory. Participants will be MID officers, Provincial officers, SINU students, and construction and concrete production companies.
The test results and lessons learnt through the workshops will be taken into the IBP standards in the Solomon Islands. The Project team expects this new pavement technology will improve pavement conditions in all provinces and islands of Solomon Islands.
Source: Press Release, MID & JICA