Surface dressing will give longer life to miles of road

Almost 350 miles of road across North Yorkshire will have its life extended by up to ten years thanks to the county’s annual surface dressing programme.

Each year, North Yorkshire County Council invests more than £10m in improving stretches of the county’s 5,800 miles of roads with its surface dressing programme during spring and summer. In the past five years, this has seen almost 1,800 miles of road treated.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “Maintaining the county’s extensive road network for residents, businesses and visitors is among our highest priorities.

“Surface dressing enables us to do more with the money we have available. It is comparatively low-cost at a fifth of the price of resurfacing, so we can treat a much larger proportion of the road network each year, preventing the need for much more expensive work later. It is also a quick process, so minimises inconvenience to local residents and motorists.”

Surface dressing is a quick, efficient and cost-effective way of maintaining skid-resistant and waterproof road surfaces, helping to prevent deterioration. It involves spraying bitumen onto the road surface then covering it with a layer of chippings.

It is important that traffic is allowed onto the new surface because chippings need traffic to embed them fully into the road. However, it is also important that drivers keep to the speed limit to allow the surface to stabilise and to avoid damage to their vehicles. That is why a 20mph speed limit is in place during the early life of the dressing. The surface is left for seven days then any residual chippings can be swept up before road markings are repainted.

This year’s programme is now under way. Information boards will be erected in the areas where work is to take place and letters will be delivered to affected properties. The work is subject to weather conditions.

For more articles like this, Please visit Highways Industry News website.

Leakage – Yorkshire Water set to install world record number of acoustic loggers

The water company will invest £10 million to install the sound devices to help meet a target of reducing leakage by 15% by 2020 and a further 25% by 2025.

During a trial of the technology, 600 of the devices installed in the pipe network in West Yorkshire helped to identify 35 leaks in one month, which helped to save approximately 86,400 litres of water from being wasted.

Following the successful trial, Yorkshire Water will now proceed to install 34,000 more of the devices by October this year covering 20% of its water distribution areas. This will bring its total count to 40,000, more than any other water company in the world.

Martyn Hattersley, Head of Leakage Operations at Yorkshire Water, said:

“Each acoustic ‘ear’, or logger, is capable of identifying a leak within a 150 meters radius, which is much more accurate than current technology allows. It will give us a much greater understanding and visibility of what is happening in some of the areas most prone to leaks. By installing these devices we will help our leakage technicians save millions of litres of water being wasted which will improve our water sustainability and reduce roadwork impact on customers.”

The loggers work by listening continuously to the flow of the water through a pipe. If any variants in noise occur, an alarm is set off which alerts Yorkshire Water’s data analyst team. The data experts then analyse the noise to determine if it indicates a leak in the pipe and if so a leakage technician is sent out to find the precise location and raise work to repair the pipe within an average of 6 days.

Yorkshire Water’s innovation team is currently working with the open data community by sharing sound files with them to better understand the sound profile of a leaky pipe, which will help its own analysts detect leaks.

Cash plans revealed to improve local roads and pavements

CLM survey: UK motorists ready for electric switch

Two thirds of UK consumers are set to choose an alternative to diesel for their next car, according to research from CLM Fleet Management.

In a survey of over 500 UK drivers, just 14% of respondents said they would opt for a diesel car as their next vehicle. However, awareness and understanding of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) remains a barrier for consumers when considering the switch. The surveyed revealed that only 14% consumers believe that using an AFV would make their lives easier than with a petrol or diesel car.

CLM noted that this may change in the future as knowledge around the usability of electric cars increases. The report cited separate data from Statista, which found that petrol station sites in the UK have fallen by more than a third in the last eight years, while electric charging points have surpassed 10,000.

Environmental concerns were cited as the main reason for making the switch to AFVs, followed by running and servicing costs. CLM said the changing consumer sentiment is reflected in the recent decline of diesel car sales, with registrations dropping by around 30% in 2018.

“Current environmental concerns combined with improvements in technology have culminated in very few respondents expecting their next car to be a diesel,” said a spokesperson from CLM. “The opportunity to respond to this demand heralds an exciting new chapter for the car industry, as the British public begins to change their transport habits to reflect their environmental ambitions. It is clear that the next 20 years could see a revolution in the way we consume fuel.”

Previous CLM research called for better education on electric and hybrid vehicles. “Increased education would undoubtedly help this process and this is where fleet management providers like ourselves have a clear role to play in providing our customers with a clear and detailed analysis of the alternative fuel options available,” said John Lawrence, managing director of CLM.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

Atkins wins £60m contract on new Environment Agency framework

Atkins – a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group – has won a place on a new Environment Agency (EA) framework, which will continue to deliver the Agency’s £2.6 billion flood and coastal protection programme programme to better protect homes from flooding and coastal erosion.

The work is worth around £60 million to Atkins over the next eight years.

Effective from April 2019, the EA’s Next Generation Supplier Arrangements (NGSA) will form the basis of new ways of working, to help better protect people and the environment whilst ensuring that sustainable development is at the core of Environment Agency projects.

Atkins has been appointed as consultant for the South West region, to identify solutions to reduce the impact of flooding on communities. Services provided will include appraisal and design of flood and coastal schemes; asset management support; and incident management support.

Mike McNicholas, Managing Director of Atkins’ Infrastructure division, said:

“The NGSA will see the supply chain working in new ways with a steadfast focus on long-term, innovative collaboration.

“Our project teams will be harnessing existing digital tools and adopting new technology, as we work with the EA, our delivery partners and local communities, to provide better flood protection and value for money, as well as long-lasting benefits for future generations.”

The new NGSA arrangements have been developed using the EA’s long experience in the flood and coastal risk management sector as well as learning from other leading public and private infrastructure providers. The new arrangements promote innovative ways of collaborative working with delivery partners and local communities from the initial planning stages of a project right through to its completion.

Toby Willison, Executive Director of Operations at the Environment Agency, 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.”

Operation Brock – work to remove M20 contraflow complete

EA moves step closer to planning application for £450m+ River Thames flood defence scheme

Easter getaway traffic: The busiest UK roads this weekend

Concrete news for motorists on M5 Oldbury repairs

Specialist repair teams working on the M5 Oldbury viaduct have completed the majority of concrete repairs on top of the northbound carriageway.

The project is the largest concrete repair project ever undertaken in the UK and the scheme is also thought to be the largest scaffolding project in Europe, with more than 400 hundred miles of scaffolding erected. That’s enough scaffold boards to cover seven football pitches and enough scaffold staircases to reach the top of Ben Nevis and Snowdon.

This work is essential if drivers are to continue using this stretch of the M5 for years to come.

Other work over the coming weeks including installing waterproofing material, resurfacing the carriageway and putting down new lane markings needs to be completed before the existing contraflow can be removed.

Once that happens, traffic will revert to the correct side of the road, with two lanes running in each direction.

Motorists will then benefit from smoother and safer journeys through the roadworks and will be able to access the M5 more easily from junctions 1 and 2.

Highways England Regional Director, Catherine Brookes, said:

“We’ve made really good progress to concrete repairs on the northbound carriageway and we now have around 95 per cent of concrete repairs completed.

“This means that in some parts of the work we’re now able to start applying the waterproofing material and that is an integral part of the work. This material is really important as it will help to protect the structure for years to come and prevent water accessing the concrete that we have repaired.

“We understand the level of disruption this project involves, and we’d like to thank motorists, businesses and residents for their continued patience.”

Motorists travelling between junctions 1 and 2 will now notice a red material in parts of the repair area on the northbound carriageway where essential work to repair damaged concrete and supporting joints is taking place.

The material is used to help stick the asphalt to the carriageway and is sprayed on top of the grey waterproofing membrane.

The waterproofing material adds an extra layer of protection between the newly repaired concrete and the road surface. It stops water seeping into the structure causing corrosion and damage to concrete.

The waterproofing process is a weather-dependent activity and the temperature of the surface of the concrete and that of the air must be between -10 to 30°C.

The air and surface must also be very dry, otherwise the material doesn’t stick to the concrete if conditions are too wet or cold. If the conditions are too hot, ‘blisters’ will form and this impacts on the effectiveness of the material.

Caption: The layers of repairs to the road surface being carried out by specialist teams at M5 Oldbury.

Removal of the contraflow will allow specialist repair teams to work either side of the central reservation. This will enable repairs to damaged concrete in these lanes to take place, as well as repairs to the central barrier.

Elsewhere, repair teams have also replaced and upgraded half of the structure’s four miles of suspended drainage, unseen to the public, which is designed to carry water away from the viaduct.

The new drainage is designed to carry water away from the structure.

The final phase of the project will include:

  • A limited number of concrete repairs along the central reservation.
  • Upgrading about a mile of the central barrier to the modern concrete type.
  • Replacing the drainage underneath the central reservation.
  • Waterproofing the central reservation.
  • Installing new gantries where they have been removed and refurbishing those currently in place.
  • Removing a large amount of temporary scaffolding.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

UK government provides new road repair funding to fix ‘pothole problem’

Councils in England will be given a share of more than £200m for road maintenance and pothole repairs as part of new UK government funding that could resurface more than 1,000 miles (1,600km) of road.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced the allocation of an extra £50m for councils for potholes and flood resilience, as well as £151m to reward examples of councils’ best practice.

These funds come from the £6.6bn the UK government is providing in the six years to 2021 to improve local roads. As part of the government’s work to prevent potholes in the future, the Department for Transport (DfT) will fund early-stage research into new surface materials or pothole repair techniques, such as 3D printing. A digital hub will also be set up for experts to share and develop innovations.

The new investment is on top of the £725m local authorities will receive in 2019/20, based on the infrastructure they maintain, including length of roads, number of bridges and street lights.

The DfT says road users are already seeing the benefits of extra funding for road maintenance, with £420m spent in the past six months on resurfacing, pothole repairs and bridge renewals.

Several local authorities have also bought new pothole repair machines, such as Dragon Patchers and JetPatchers, to help fill holes and other mend other pavement defects quickly.

The DfT has recently launched several new projects as part of its road repair program, including:

• Along with Cumbria County Council and highway survey firm Gaist, the DfT is trialling low-cost sensors to monitor river levels across the region to reduce the risk of future flood damage;

• In northeast Lincolnshire, the council and partner ENGIE have introduced a new heat and recycle system that mixes new and existing surfaces to create a thermo-bond and reduce the potential for weak points that let in water, creating potholes. As the technique recycles the existing surface, no waste is taken to landfill;

• The government has already announced it will be providing £23m for trials of new technologies to develop pothole-free roads, such as using kinetic energy to heat surfaces, recycling plastic waste into a harder-wearing surface, or installing sensors to predict where issues might occur;

• A consultation on ensuring road repairs last longer by requiring utility companies to guarantee their roadworks for up to five years, instead of two presently;

• A review of road condition surveying data and technology that will seek views on the current methodology used to monitor road condition, as well as how councils and the wider sector can harness new techniques to improve local roads and infrastructure.

The DfT has also published a new guide on best practices in pothole repair, developed with the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport.

“Every motorist knows that potholes have been a problem in the last few years,” noted Grayling. “That is why the government is continuing to step up its funding to local authorities to address this. It is now up to highways authorities to innovate and use new technologies to solve the problem.”

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.