United Utilities awards £85m Thirlmere link mains contract

United Utilities has awarded the £85 million Thirlmere link mains contract to a joint venture between Farrans Construction and Roadbridge Ltd.

The contract covers the design, construction and commissioning of approximately 32km of large diameter twin water mains and approximately 24 km of large diameter water mains in the West Cumbria region.

The pipeline will link West Cumbria to the rest of United Utilities’ regional water network.

The JV was one of four bidders for the contract, which was orginally tendered as two separate schemes – the Williamsgate to Summergrove water mains build and the Bridge End to Williamsgate raw water aqueduct build.

United Utilities opted to tender the work as a single project after reviewing its overall procurement strategy for the £300 million West Cumbria Water Supplies project, which also includes a new water treatment works, two service reservoirs and a new pumping station.

The water company concluded that the challenges (including financial) that the project raised meant that the objectives of the strategy would be better met by a single combined offer.

The previous procurement structure did not permit the submission of a combined offer and did not allow the benefits of any combination to be taken into account in the evaluation.

Time lapse footage of Ewell Bridge work on A12

A huge crane lifted away a broken section of Ewell Bridge on the A12 at Kelvedon last week.

Highways England has now released time lapse footage of the repair work, which took place between junctions 23 and 24 between Thursday and Sunday.

The footage shows the moments leading up to the crane pulling away the broken section of the bridge.

Drivers faced various diversions during the four days, and were mainly diverted through back roads. Diversions were clearly signposted, Highways England bosses said.

Pedestrians wishing to cross the bridge were diverted to take Highfields Lane, Maldon Road and Ewell Hall Chase.

The road reopened at 4am on Monday this week.

Work to repair the Ewell Bridge had been delayed due to the ongoing work to repair Coleman’s Bridge over the A12 at Witham North, where Gurdip Johal, 30, died after his lorry plunged off it and onto a verge in February.


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M3 closed for whole May weekend as Woodlands Bridge work continues

The M3 will be closed for a whole weekend in May as work to replace Woodlands Bridge continues.

Highways England has announced the motorway will be closed in both directions between junction 2 for the M25 and junction 3 for Bagshot.

The closure will run from 9pm on Friday May 5 to 5.30am on Monday May 8.

Highways England said: “The closure is to allow the beams of Woodlands Bridge to be safely lifted into position.

“Clearly signed diversions will be in place and Highways England is advising drivers to plan their journeys in advance, and to leave extra time.

“Installing bridge beams is a large and complex task, so it is essential the M3 is closed to ensure maximum safety for road users and our road workers.

“Highways England has worked closely with Surrey County Council , the police and other stakeholders to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum during the work.”

There will be fully signed diversions in place, however as delays are expected drivers are advised to consider alternative routes if possible.

Four clearly signed diversion routes will be in use:

  • Drivers travelling northbound on the M3 heading to the anti-clockwise M25 (for Gatwick , Dartford and Dover) will be diverted from the M3 junction 4 via the A331, A31 and A3 to join the M25 at junction 10.
  • Drivers travelling clockwise on the M25 heading to the southbound M3 will be diverted from the M25 junction 10 via the A3, A31 and A331 to the M3 junction 4.
  • Drivers travelling northbound on the M3 heading for the clockwise M25 (for London or Heathrow Airport ) will be diverted via the A322, A329M and M4.
  • Drivers travelling southbound on the M3 will be diverted via the M25 and the M4 to then use either the A329M & A33 or A34.

The weekend closure is part of the work to ongoing smart motorway project for junctions 2A to 4 and the bridge is expected to reopen later this year.

The original Woodlands Lane Bridge was constructed in the 1970s and had started to show signs of deterioration, requiring weight and width restrictions.

The bridge was closed to traffic in October 2016 and demolished later the following month, forcing Windlesham parents to take a 40-minute detour to take their children to and from Valley End Infant School.


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New report says UK water firms will need to significantly increase infrastructure investment

A new pioneering asset management research report commissioned by the UK water industry says that UK water companies will need to significantly increase infrastructure investment – with significant implications for customers’ bills.

The report is warning that the estimated effect the additional investment will have on bills will be an additional 0.7% increase year-on-year to 2050.

The report by UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) is the outcome of UKWIR’s ‘Long Term Investment in Infrastructure’ project which began in May 2016 with the aim of presenting a body of evidence for the long-term infrastructure needs of the UK water industry.

The project, undertaken by asset management specialist George Heywood, his team from Servelec Technologies by Servelec Technologies, a leading provider of business optimisation solutions and colleagues from Frontier Economics and Atkins Global, is seeking to raise awareness of the issues with government and industry stakeholders.

The report, which is shortly due to be published by UKWIR, will show that UK water companies need to significantly increase levels of expenditure in infrastructure, both in the medium and long-term if current service standards are to be maintained.

Without increased expenditure in infrastructure the 350,000km of water mains and 625,000km of sewers in the UK will begin to fail more often, the research shows.

According to the report financing the increased expenditure required will need to be achieved through increases in consumer bills. Using a model of the way water companies are financed in England and Wales, Frontier Economics used Servelec Technologies’ analysis to estimate the effect the additional investment will have on bills to be an additional 0.7% increase year-on-year to 2050.

Using Servelec Technologies’ asset management software PIONEER as an analytical tool, the project team was able to determine an acceptable level of investment based on a variety of short and long-term scenarios which included the effects of social and climatic changes and the potential benefits of future technologies.

Failure to increase investment will lead to more bursts, interruptions, flooding and pollution

The project team’s analysis has made use of national asset databases, combined with deterioration, service, cost and optimisation models. It shows that if the industry does not increase expenditure then bursts, interruptions, flooding and pollution will happen more regularly, in opposition to the increasing service expectation of customers.

Following the completion of the report, Servelec’s Technical Director George Heywood said:

“We are pleased with the body of evidence we have provided to the UKWIR Steering Group and we hope that the UK water industry as a whole will benefit from this research.”

“The report will advise UK water companies, the Government and industry authorities of the level of investment that is required to achieve the replacement and rehabilitation needed to offset deterioration of UK water networks due to age and use, and the subsequent impact on the consumer.”

“Failing to increase expenditure now will result in significantly higher recovery costs in future years adding to the burden on the consumer and network infrastructure.”

UKWIR (UK Water Industry Research) was set up by the UK water industry in 1993 to provide a framework for the procurement of a common research programme for UK water companies on ‘one voice’ issues. UKWIR’s members comprise 22 water and sewerage companies in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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