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News from the UK Civils Industry 24th April 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

New roadwork approach curbs disruption

A new approach to motorway upgrades has cut the amount of time traffic is disrupted by roadworks on busy routes.

Highways England says it has changed the way it is working on upgrades, after the new approach was successfully introduced on the M6 between Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford. Instead of drivers using both carriageways while the upgrades take place around them, contraflows have been introduced.

Drivers still go through the roadworks at the same speed, but the contraflows create larger construction areas at the side of the motorway, which allows more work to be carried out in one shift, speeding up the project. Temporary barriers separate the contraflow traffic on the opposite carriageway.

A major motorway upgrade will normally require up to 200 full motorway closures to complete construction work. However, by using a contraflow, the number of full closures reduces to an average of 60, meaning less disruption to motorists and businesses.

Contraflows allow contractors to carry out bigger works during the day where normally they would only be carried out overnight. This is thanks to more space at the verge to work and vehicles can pass each other without having to wait until another team has finished.

The £265 million project to upgrade 19 miles of the M6 in Cheshire was completed last month. It saw one lane of the northbound traffic moved onto the opposite carriageway. Highways England is now using the same approach to work being carried out on the M62.

Mike Bull, Highways England’s smart motorways programme manager for the north west, said: “We are always reviewing how we carry out major upgrades so we can minimise disruption as much as possible for drivers using our roads and people living near them. We are delighted to be able to complete these upgrades more quickly, and with fewer closures, thanks to the introduction of these contraflows. This is all part of our work to ultimately improve journeys in this area by adding extra capacity and technology to the motorway.” Full story.

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Environment Agency invests £2.3 billion in flood risk management

Four contractors and consultants have secured places on the Environment Agency’s £2.6bn flood and coastal risk management programme framework. BAM Nuttall, Jackson Civil Engineering and VolkerStevin have been joined by Kier Integrated Services on the project. 

The Environment Agency expects to spend around £1.5bn through the framework over four years, with the option to extend for a further four years, making the total projected spend to £2.3bn.

The programme aims to better protect 300,000 homes from coastal erosion and flooding up to 2021 and beyond.

Effective this month, the Environment Agency’s Next Generation Supplier Arrangements will form the basis of deeper collaborative working from the initial planning stages of a project right through to its completion.

Executive director of operations at the Environment Agency Toby Willison said: “This ambitious new framework will help us to continue to deliver our £2.6bn flood and coastal defence programme in a way which ensures that sustainability, efficiency and value for money remain at the very heart of the work we do to protect people, homes and the environment.” Full story.

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