Virginia creeper does develop a very thick underground root system and I believe it can spread this way by sending new shoots upward. However, in my experience I don't find this so much of a problem. For me it is more the new shoots that sprout up and start running along the ground rooting themselves as they go. These are fairly easy to yank up if you keep on top of them.
You mentioned the area where you wish to plant it is surrounded by pavers. That might be a plus to help keep it contained. How big is the spot where the VC will be allowed to grow freely? Also what kind of support will you be using to guide it up to the pergola? When it first starts growing you may need to help guide it up the support for the first couple of feet. After that it will just continue to climb the support on its own.
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1991 to May 24, 2009