When was the last time you really though about the pavement beneath your wheels or feet? Most of us only give pavement a second thought when it’s either really bad or really good. Obviously the latter is preferable, especially when we learn how much it cost to replace tires, wheels and shocks on the vehicles we drive. When concrete floor asphalt pavement is old or incorrectly installed and breaking up, the complications are truly many.

But if asphalt and concrete pavement were suddenly removed from our daily lives, you can bet that we would all get it a great deal more attention. Modern pavement really is unremarkable of engineering — and it did not come about automatically. In fact, the more we learn about asphalt and concrete pavement, the more interesting it gets — and the more likely we are to appreciate it. Here are six innovations that forever changed pavement as we know it.

Rubber tracks

Before the invention of rubber tracks, pavement specialists had to work much more slowly, and the results were not nearly as neat and even. This invention provided much more stability for pavement machines, and also allowed pavement to be installed with greater speed and over greater surface areas.

The electric screed

This is a great invention because it allowed a much more even distribution of heat as pavement was installed, and gave the operator a lot more freedom and control over the temperature of the screen. The result is better pavement in daily life.

Autonomous feeder systems

Feeder systems that are controlled independently were a big deal in the evolution of pavement. The principle benefit was a much more consistent asphalt or concrete mix, which led to better quality and smoothness throughout the surface of the pavement.

Advanced grading and sloping systems

This invention, coupled with the electric screen, allowed pavers even greater precision and control of the shape and consistency of the pavement they were installing — and this great invention remains hugely influential in paving today.

The hydraulic screed

The next step after the electric screed was the screed that is hydraulic, can be extended, and is mounted at both the front and rear of the vehicle. This doubled-down on the control and precision available for pavers working on a variety of widths and surfaces.

Hydraulic drives

Pavement used to be installed with mechanical drives — until hydraulic drive systems came along and made things a lot easier. Professional pavers now had a system that was easier and more economical, which allowed them to make paving cheaper for residential and commercial clients as well.

Who do you trust for your pavement?

Now that we’ve gone deeper into the history of innovation in pavement, the realities of this amazing trade are more apparent. When you hire a specialist for your driveway, walkway, parking lot, or any other paved surface at your commercial or residential address, make sure it’s a company who knows their stuff and only brings the most modern, up-to-date equipment to your job site. You’ll be glad you did!