Storm Doris leads to 800 calls to Hertfordshire’s highways team in one day

More than 800 calls were made to County Hall’s highways team when Storm Doris struck Hertfordshire last week.

Trees were uprooted, lorries were toppled and the A10 viaduct between Hertford and Ware was closed due to the weather on Thursday (Feb 23).

On the day Hertfordshire County Council received 800 calls, with 170 reports of fallen trees between 2pm and 4pm, and contractors Ringway dealt with more than 330 emergency call outs.

Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This is was an extreme and rare weather event and our highways teams have worked around the clock to keep roads moving and people safe.

“I appreciate many residents’ journeys would have been impacted yesterday evening and their understanding and patience while we worked to keep road users out of harm’s way is greatly appreciated.”

Kevin Carrol, Ringway Divisional Manager, said: “I’d like to thank our colleagues working on the network and in the transport control centre who have gone over and above today, working extra hours to make sure Hertfordshire remains safe.”

The priority was to clear blocked roads and to make them safe, which means many sites may still have trees that have been cut up and left safety at the side of the road and on verges.

Crews will follow this up over the coming days with vehicles being sent out to collect debris.

The severe gusts of winds were caused by a phenomenon known as a ‘weather bomb’ – a very intense area of low pressure which ‘explodes’ when it travels underneath a powerful jet stream.

 

http://www.highwaysindustry.com/storm-doris-leads-to-800-calls-to-hertfordshires-highways-team-in-one-day/

Project Focus: Optimising the Wessex Grid

Optimiser software using a sophisticated closed loop control system has been central to enabling efficient water transfers to take place as part of Wessex Water’s flagship supply project

A diagram of the Wessex Water supply grid project, with the new sections in red

 

A diagram of the Wessex Water supply grid project, with the new sections in red.

 

by Steve Bilton, Senior Engineer, Infrastructure, Atkins, and Drummond Modley, Programme Manager, Wessex Water

Wessex Water’s integrated water supply grid is its largest ever and most complex project. The grid, which will be completed in 2018, includes the construction of 200km of new pipelines, 24 new or refurbished pumping stations, and 12 new storage tanks ranging in capacity from 2 to 8 million litres.

The grid includes more than 50 individual projects designed to combat resilience issues within the water supply network, costing a total of £228M over 8 years and two AMP cycles.

It provides the first opportunity to transfer water between Wessex Water’s northern and southern supply zone. On completion, it will meet future water supply demand for the next 25 years; improve the security of supply for customers by ensuring that customers are no longer supplied by a single source of water; help to meet reductions in abstraction licences required by the Environment Agency to improve flows in some rivers and protect their ecology; and deal with seasonal or occasional deteriorating raw water quality, particularly increasing concentrations of nitrates at some groundwater sources.

The Team

Wessex Water’s internal engineering and construction services business, Wessex Engineering and Construction Services (WECS) has managed the overall delivery programme, with both WECS and Atkins providing engineering design, planning and environmental services.

Atkins were involved in scoping the route of the new trunk main and assisting WECS to receive buy-in to the preferred route.

Innovation and the Optimiser

One of the most innovative aspects of the scheme was the development of the ‘Optimiser’ which will manage and optimise the transfer of water along the trunk main.

The Optimiser is a sophisticated closed loop central control system, which is designed to manage network operation efficiently and effectively. Atkins’ role was Project Manager on behalf of WECS, to develop the conceptual design, prepare the initial business case for the Optimiser, and assistance with the implementation of the Optimiser to the network.

Alongside the development of the Optimiser, Atkins also developed an overall control philosophy for the trunk main. This was based around 4 levels of Control:

1) Local Manual Control – the basic level of control with no automation and pumps/reservoir levels controlled manually.

2) Local Automatic Control – this is historically the normal method of control, with operating instructions issued to individual assets at each site.

3) Co-ordinated Control – two sub-systems are being integrated into the supply grid. Under this level, the local automatic controls receive commands/set points over communication links from a centralised system. These can override locally held level set points and pump on/off commands. If the communication links fail, then the system should revert to automatic local control.

4) Optimiser Control – This will ultimately be the normal and preferred method of overall system control for the grid trunkmain. The Optimiser will control all strategic assets considering the whole strategic network and determine the optimum operation taking account of constraints, including the need to meet conditioning and sweetening flows. It will monitor system operation compared with the optimum schedule and issue updated instructions regularly. Typically, where changes are required, these instructions will be issued every 30 minutes and will be implemented by the Level 2 (or Level 3) control system.

The Optimiser will enable Wessex Water to respond more effectively to incidents and planned outages, ensuring that supplies to customers are maintained as well as minimising operating costs.

In order to understand and establish Wessex Water’s particular requirements for the Optimiser, Atkins arranged a series of internal stakeholder workshops incorporating staff from operations, water resources, IT and water quality. The output from these workshops was the production of a comprehensive user requirement specification (URS). The team also consulted suppliers and other users of optimising solutions to gain a good understanding of the scope of technologies available.

Pilot Trial

In order to select a supplier for the technology, Atkins undertook a closed loop pilot trial in the spring of 2012, which sought to test the pumps, replace and amend the telemetry, and install new assets in the reservoir.

In 2012, Servelec Technologies was appointed as the preferred supplier of the Optimiser software.
Atkins, with Servelec Technologies, worked with many parts of Wessex Water on the development of Phase 1 of the Optimiser. This was to be developed and tested on an existing section of Wessex Water’s water distribution network where the operating regime and constraints were previously understood.

This development work identified enabling works required to provide the necessary feedback from the system regarding metered flows and reservoir levels. A programme of enabling works was managed to install new level transducers and flow meters and GSM telemetry loggers.

System constraint information was also required to understand abstraction licences, treatment works outputs and pump operations allowable.

Rigorous end-to-end testing of the communications network was undertaken to ensure that control signals were passed through various systems between the optimiser and the site control systems.

Phase 1 went live in September 2014, controlling 28 individual pumps and 2 flow control valves successfully.
The knowledge gained and difficulties overcome during Phase 1 have allowed Wessex Water’s Supply Optimisation Team to build the Optimiser model for Phase 2 which is extending the network under Optimiser control to include the integrated grid assets as they become operational.

Benefits

The Optimiser allows an holistic view to be taken over the supply network and 72 hours ahead – rather than decisions being based on only the current water level in the adjacent reservoir. This gives many benefits, including improved security of supply and contingency planning; efficient transfer of flows in a complex supply system; efficient management of assets in a complex transfer and distribution system; savings made in avoiding Triads and Duos periods; optimal outage planning; optimal blending ratios for nitrate sources; and reduced call outs out-of-hours, as forecast provides more confidence in network flexibility.

In conclusion, the water supply grid will ensure that Wessex Water can meet its customer demands for the next 25 years, will provide security of supply through its ability to redistribute surplus water to areas in deficit and will allow blending of sources to maintain water quality.

The Optimiser provides an effective, reliable, repeatable and auditable solution to the challenge of managing a large and diverse water supply network.

Best of the best of 2016 recognised at Highways England Supplier Recognition Awards

The combined efforts of Highways England contractors who worked tirelessly to repair and rebuild a storm-damaged road in Cumbria have been honoured at the company’s annual Supplier Recognition Scheme awards. Pulling out all the stops, this vital route was repaired, making a real difference to an area where tourism plays a vital part to the local economy.

Kier Highways, and Cubby Construction JV with the local supply chain completed the work three works early, under budget and without a single incident. It meant the local community had the A591 back in action in time for the start of the tourist season and Highways England could notch up a ‘first’ by delivering improvements on a local road network.

The Cumbria nomination was among 130 entries in this year’s awards which also recognised companies for achievements in various fields including safety, customer service, sustainability, capability, value and inclusion.

The supply chain – ranging from small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to international organisations – carries out around 90 per cent of Highways England’s work.

Jim O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Highways England said:

“We need and value the expertise, ambition and innovation our supply chain partners bring, because without them we cannot deliver the £15 billion Government investment.

“We have achieved a great deal  since April 2015, and there is much more to do. We are responsible for the largest road building programme in a generation, and have thousands of miles of road network that need to be maintained to a high standard. It is imperative that we achieve this while keeping our network open to traffic, and ensuring the safety of our customers and workforce.

“That is what our awards are all about, recognising the contribution our supply chain partners make to the important work we do.”

Winners and highly commended as follows:

1. Safety, health and wellbeing – awarded to suppliers who show industry leading commitment to improving organisational, workforce and road user health and safety.

Winner: A-One+ and Postpullers UK Ltd for a collaborative approach to the development of an innovative solution to remove embedded safety barrier posts. The system reduces the safety risks faced by the workforce: requires only one operator, not two or three; reduces the amount of machinery needed to remove the barrier posts and gets the job done more quickly.

Highly commended: HW Martin (Traffic Management) Ltd; Manchester Smart Motorways (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain & Bam/Morgan Sindall JV); Carnell Support Services Ltd


2. Customer Experience – awarded to suppliers who have demonstrated industry leading commitment to customer service.

Winner: Costain for the work they did to get to engage with communities, stakeholders, road users and community teams working alongside the construction team on the A556 Knutsford to Bowden scheme. The work they did demonstrated a clear understanding of our customer service strategy, and enabled them to build upon the basics to improve customer service. To achieve this, they used a wide variety of communication channels from VMS to social media to communicate with customers, alongside using commercial providers such as TomTom and ABTA.

Their whole ethos was to think about things differently. That pro-active, customer focused, lessons learned approach was what elevated this submission into the winning bid.
Highly commended: Carillion Morgan Sindall JV


3. Communities – awarded to suppliers that have engaged with community groups from the outset, understood what really matters to them and identified ways in which they can work differently.

Winner: Carillion Morgan Sindall JV for work on the A1 Leeming to Barton widening and motorway upgrade. They showed a dedication for changing the face of construction by revolutionising their commitment to social responsibility across the industry, by: proactively working with media to talk about the work they do; health-checks for HGV drivers; showcasing archaeological findings and targeting donations that will positively impact on local communities.


4. Delivering sustainable and environmental solutions – awarded to suppliers who have integrated environmental, social, economic and management aspects of sustainable development into the delivery of Highways England contracts.

·         Winner: Interserve Construction for empowering communities through social value mapping. The company worked alongside an environmental regeneration charity, Groundwork, to track their key objectives. This method enabled a better understanding of the key factors impacting communities where Interserve Construction were operating and their influence on employment, job creation and supply chain spend. This method has ultimately helped Interserve Construction to better identify how they can help Highways England meet their sustainability targets. For example;  M3 Black Dam Improvement and M11 Stansted schemes.

Highly commended: Graham Construction


5. Inclusion– awarded to suppliers that have created opportunities to bring people into the workplace, developed skills and created an environment where differences are valued and utilised.

·         Winner: Skanska UK Ltd for their work to initiate and encourage daily conversations with their colleagues, partners, clients and the wider sector about becoming more diverse and inclusive; how together there can be a culture in which everyone feels they can be themselves. They have tracked the impact of this work over the last six years, and have seen an increase in diversity and inclusion engagement scores from 66% to 82%.

Highly commended: VINCI Construction UK Ltd – Taylor Woodrow


6. Building capacity and capability – awarded to suppliers that have developed their employees’ skills and capabilities through delivery of Highways England contracts.

·         Winner: HW Martin (Traffic Management) Ltd for their work in building an employment and skills infrastructure. They actively managed the supply chain, bringing on board people from local SMEs, having a commitment to accessible entry level employment (for people from all backgrounds) and offering training opportunities for local people & SMEs – this includes apprenticeships and a self-funding skills development academy.

Highly commended: Costain M1 Smart Motorways


7. Managing down cost/improving value – awarded to suppliers who have demonstrated significant achievement by delivering Highways England contracts in smarter, more efficient ways.

Winner: A-One+’& Urbis Schreder Ltd’ for taking an existing lighting unit, used on 24 overhead gantries in Yorkshire to display information to road users, and adapting it to meet Highways England specifications. The result was an improved LED lighting unit, which is more visible to road users (especially at night). In addition, by making these changes, the whole life costs of the units was lowered, disruption to road users reduced (the control gear for the units is installed in the hard shoulder, meaning future maintenance can be done from there, without the need for lane closures) and road worker safety is improved (reduces the need for working from height).

Highly commended: Carnell Support Services Ltd


8. Supply chain management – awarded to suppliers that demonstrate Highways England’s strategic agenda, values and principles through supply chains.

Winner and Chairman’s Award: Kier Highways and Cubby Construction JV with local supply chain for the “Reconnecting Cumbria” Project. This saw national, regional and local organisations working together to repair Cumbria’s local road network following an unprecedented series of devastating, severe weather events in December 2015. Through collaboratively working with its supply chain, other contractors and stakeholders including Highways England, Cumbria County Council, Lake District National Park and United Utilities, the winning companies enabled Highways England to deliver works on Cumbria’s local road network – a first for the government company – three weeks early, under budget and without a single incident.

Winner: Kier Highways for their work with BSI and ToweyDuffy  in Area 3 to unlock a new certification process which saw the largest number of SMEs achieve the national standard for Collaborative Business relationships (BS11000) as part of a single assessment. Not only did it reduce costs and result in efficiency savings for Highways England, but it has helped promote collaborative working, improved how information is shared and better delivery.

Highly commended: Costain, Aggregate Industries and Walters; Chevron Traffic Management and Kier Highways, HTM, Golden Orb Solutions, Consillium

 

http://www.highwaysindustry.com/best-of-the-best-of-2016-recognised-at-highways-england-supplier-recognition-awards/

Kier gets £40m Southwest highways design commission

Highways England’s new procurement strategy has seen Kier Highways awarded a £40m contract for design services in the southwest.

This is the first of a number of asset delivery contracts in the southwest region under Highways England’s new way of running motorways and trunk roads, by which it takes back direct responsibility for managing both routine maintenance and capital works.

Kier’s contract, which runs for five years from July 2017, covers technical designs and supporting work for capital projects, from initial scheme feasibility phase through to as-build phase.

The southwest region comprises Areas 1 and 2 to create the largest highways England operating area and covers 11% of the strategic road network, from Cheltenham to Penzance.

Highways England will award further contracts for the southwest in April for construction and routine maintenance works.

Highways England commercial director David Poole said: “We are delighted that Kier Highways Limited will be part of our new asset delivery supply chain community across the southwest. This contract not only builds on the new way of working already taking place in the East Midlands and North of England but also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to increasing Highways England’s capability and control over the whole road network.”

Kier has also been providing design services under the new asset delivery model in the East Midlands (Area 7) since July 2016.

Dave Wright, executive director of Kier Highways, said: “This award is testament to the expertise we’ve provided through our design services work in Area 7 and we are pleased to be continuing to support Highways England in its new approach.   Collaboration for both clients and suppliers is at the heart of our business and this new approach allows us to continue our successful relationship with Highways England.”

 

http://www.highwaysindustry.com/kier-gets-40m-southwest-highways-design-commission/

HS2 line construction to start in weeks after royal assent

The Department of Transport declares “full speed ahead” on new Midlands-London link and says construction will start in spring

The hybrid bill enabling phase 1 of high speed two (HS2), the new rail line that will eventually link Leeds and Manchester to Birmingham and thence to London, has received Royal assent after three years of scrutiny by both Houses of Parliament. This marks the beginning of the active phase of the project, and the Department of Transport said that schemes to allow compensate communities along the route will now open for applications, and that construction will start within the next few months.

Secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling said that Royal assent for the hybrid bill was a major step in relieving congestion on the railways. It would “improve connections between the biggest cities and regions; generate jobs, skills and economic growth and help build an economy that works for all,” he claimed. “We will now press ahead with constructing the railway while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.”

David Higgins, chairman of HS2, was keen to highlight how the project will boost industry. “This journey will see businesses right along the route benefit from greater access to the skills, markets and professional services they need to succeed in today’s global market,” he said. “It will directly create some 25,000 jobs as well as forcing the pace of innovation in the construction industry.”

Engineering company Alstom struck a similar note. “At Alstom, we live and breathe high speed rail and it is clear to us that HS2 is the most important investment in Britain’s railways for over 100 years. It will bring huge benefits to passengers. But even more crucial is the legacy of skills, apprenticeships and jobs it will create, all over the country,” said UK and Ireland MD Nick Crossfield , who added a hint that his company would like to share this bounty: “With the widest range of trains and infrastructure solutions on the market, Alstom stands ready to help make this brand new railway a reality.”

Compensation schemes now launched include a homeowner payment scheme, for property owners between 120 and 300m from surface or near surface sections of the line, who can apply for payments of £7500, £15,000 or £22,500 depending on distance; two funds totalling £40m, one of which will improve access to countryside, improve community facilities and conserve the natural environment near the route, while the other will help alleviate local disruption to businesses; and a £30m road safety fund for areas not accustomed to construction traffic.

A countervailing note was added by the campaign group Stop HS2, which unsurprisingly was not pleased by the announcement “The fight against Phase 2 of HS2 will continue, but on Phase 1, as all these things come to pass, all we can look forward to is saying ‘We told you so’,” said campaign manager Joe Rukin. “We are stuck with it because vested interest groups lobbied for it and created political momentum which made it too embarrassing to cancel. Quite simply this is a terrible project which will not deliver on its promises, come in years late, miles over budget, create havoc during construction and have disastrous environmental consequences.”

£90,000 fund for digital project to help ease congestion on Southampton roads

A pot of government cash will be poured into a digital city-wide initiative to improve commuter journeys.

The £90,000 grant from the Department for Transport will be invested to collect real-time traffic data.

Information will be collected through anonymised Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones from passing vehicles to provide accurate and reliable travel information, enabling Southampton City Council (SCC) to better manage the road network.

The funding was announced just days after Southampton was named as one of the most congested cities in the UK.

SCC is one of 19 authorities across England which successfully pitched for a share of the funding pot.

Transport boss Cllr Jacqui Rayment said: “This is a really innovative project for Southampton’s extensive road network and will help transform journeys for passengers and motorists across the city.

“This new technology will help cut congestion, speed up journeys, clean up the environment, and improve accessibility. It will deliver real-time travel information to people on the move, so we can efficiently and safely manage our local roads.

“This will also help us influence people’s travel choices, respond to incidents quickly and effectively and be flexible in how our traffic signals work. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to maximise the benefits of this project for Southampton.”

The data will provide SCC and its partners with a new source of information on traffic patterns, locations and movements.

This will provide quality and reliable real-time information back to the travelling public and local businesses through new and existing Variable Message Signs (VMS), internet, social media and into people’s satellite navigation systems.

A council spokesman said: “This data will help us to understand the implications of unplanned events on the network and help plan for them in the future.

“It will also allow us to dynamically adapt traffic signals to efficiently manage the network which will help improve road safety and air quality.

“Alongside the travel information we are working closely with locations such as the Port of Southampton and Westquay to develop bespoke targeted information for their customers about travel conditions.”

The project covers the seven main transport corridors into Southampton city centre, two cross-city routes and the city centre. It will also link to Highways England’s network on the motorways and with Portsmouth.

The routes are:

• A33 Redbridge Road-Millbrook Road West-Mountbatten Way

• A3057 Shirley Road

• A33 The Avenue

• A335 Thomas Lewis Way

• A3024 Burlesdon Road / Bitterne Road West

• A334 Bitterne Road East

• A3025 Portsmouth Road

The cross city routes are:

• A35 Winchester Road-Burgess Road

• A3025 St Denys Road-Highfield Lane

 

http://www.highwaysindustry.com/90000-fund-for-digital-project-to-help-ease-congestion-on-southampton-roads/

Shoreham flood scheme enters next phase

A major flood defence scheme that will significantly reduce flood risk to over 2,300 properties in Shoreham and East Lancing has taken a step towards completion this week, with piling works at 2 of the project’s 10 phases now finished.

The current flood defences in the Adur estuary do not provide a high enough level of protection, and in places are in poor condition. This leaves Shoreham-by-Sea, Lancing and the surrounding areas at risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency has been developing a major improvements scheme called the Shoreham Adur tidal walls (SATW). The scheme will provide protection for extreme events with 0.33% probability (1 in 300 year) of occurring in 1 year, allowing for 50 years of sea level rise.

The scheme is separated into 10 reaches, or lengths of the estuarine bank. The design of the defences varies between the reaches as they have different characteristics and are subject to different pressures and potential flood impacts.

ADUR TIDAL WALLSThe huge jack-up barge, that has been working to install one of the new tidal flood defence piled walls in the town centre since November, will leave the site next week having completed its phase of the work.

Of the planned 10 construction phases, 3 have been worked on since the project started in October 2016, and work so far has been progressing well. The scheme will significantly improve the current ageing flood defences, and when the whole project is complete, in 2018, it will reduce the tidal flood risk to thousands of homes and a significant number of commercial properties in the area. It will also protect important local infrastructure such as the road network, railway line and Shoreham Airport.

Russell Long, Flood Team Leader at the Environment Agency, said:

“Work on the scheme is progressing well, and further phases of work are set to begin later in the year. We are aware of the impact that the development of these schemes can have on local communities, and we thank the residents of Shoreham for their understanding during the works.”

The SATW is a project led by the Environment Agency working in partnership with West Sussex County Council (WSCC), Adur District Council (ADC) and the Coast 2 Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The work is funded from a number of sources, the bulk coming from central government flood risk management money. West Sussex County Council, Coast to Capital LEP and some private developers are also providing contributions through Adur District Council.

The existing flood defences are owned by the owner of the land on which they are located,  known as ‘Riparian Owners’. Ownership of the improved defences will also be with the owners of the land upon which they are built.

In the event of an unexpected risk of flooding caused by the defences, if the only property at risk of flooding is the riparian owner, then it is unlikely that the Environment Agency would intervene and carry out any improvement works.

The Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls project has a very strong business case in terms of the cost of the defences and the number of properties protected. It is therefore likely that should a serious problem occur to the defences the Agency would be able to justify spending public money to repair them.

However, the Environment Agency said that as it is subject to government policies and funding, this means it cannot guarantee it will be able to maintain the flood defences in perpetuity.

M1 ‘smart’ scheme consultation launched

Highways England is consulting on plans to introduce variable mandatory speed limits on the M1 which could affect more than 130,000 drivers a day as part of its ‘smart’ motorway scheme.

The ‘smart’ motorway – which uses overhead signs to vary speed limits, and also opens up the hard shoulder to traffic at busy times – is planned between junction 23a at Castle Donington and junction 25 near Sandiacre.

The Government-owned company is calling on any organisations, businesses or individuals that might be affected by the proposals to get in touch, with construction set to begin in early 2017.

Highways England says the ‘smart’ motorway scheme between junctions 23a and 25 will cost £120m.

Nick Robinson, assistant project manager, said: “As part of the improvements, variable mandatory speed limits will be used to manage traffic speeds and help reduce congestion, while enabling safe operation of the motorway.

“In total we will be upgrading 7.5 miles, which is expected to begin main construction in early 2017 and complete in late 2018.

“We would like to encourage any organisations, businesses or individuals affected by these proposals to make contact with us and communicate their views.”

Highways England says this stretch of the M1 carries in excess of 130,000 vehicles per day and has a “higher than average” casualty rate.

A spokesperson said: “The scheme is part of Highways England’s programme to add capacity to the existing strategic road network in order to support economic growth and maintain mobility.

“The M1 is a strategic route that carries high volumes of heavy goods and other vehicles.

“Drivers currently experience congestion and unreliable journey times at busy periods and traffic is predicted to grow, particularly with the growth expected at East Midlands Airport.

“It is expected that the smart motorways scheme will: increase motorway capacity and reduce congestion; smooth traffic flows; provide more reliable journey times; increase and improve the quality of information for the driver.

“The use of variable mandatory speed limits is essential to achieving the objectives.

“Through the introduction of technology, we aim to make best use of the existing road space.

“The scheme will convert the M1 into a controlled motorway between junctions 23a and 24 and an all lane running smart motorway between junctions 24 and 25.”

Sutton and East Surrey Water to rebrand as SES Water

Sutton and East Surrey Water has announced that from February 2017 it will rebrand as SES Water ahead of retail market opening for business customers in April 2017.

All future correspondence to customers from February will be under the new name of SES Water and will display the new logo.

SES Business Water was set up in back in August to participate in the new retail market in England.

Sutton and East Surrey Water Services are also changing their trading name. The new name is being launched at the same time as SES Water – all correspondence to customers will be under the new name of SES Home Services and will display the new logo.

SES Water will supply drinking water to approximately 685,000 consumers in 285,000 properties.

Customers’ bills will not increase as a result of the rebrand which is being funded by SES shareholders.

New motorway junction ‘will unlock economic growth’ for South West

Plans to unlock economic growth in the south west by creating a new motorway took a step forward today.

Highways England announced the preferred option for the new junction on the M49, which is part of the government’s £15 billion road investment programme.

The junction will improve road access and provide a much needed connection into the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area from the motorway network.

Featuring a two bridge junction design, the proposal uses the existing bridge at Farm Lane with a second bridge being built immediately adjacent.

The two bridges will be incorporated into a single roundabout that spans the motorway with new access and exit slip roads built on both sides of the junction so that it connects fully with both northbound and southbound traffic.

Highways England South West Regional Director Andrew Page-Dove said: “We recognise the strategic importance of the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area as a key regional employment site and that is why we are helping to unlock economic growth in the area by building this new junction.

“Over the last few months we have worked hard to identify the best possible design for the junction and we are excited to share our plans with local stakeholders, businesses and the community.

“As well as boosting the local economy, the junction will also improve access to the regional road network and relieve traffic on local roads.

“Three design options were shortlisted for the scheme and these were presented at an information event in July 2016, where members of the public, businesses and stakeholders were invited to give feedback. Highways England also worked closely with the local community before deciding on the preferred design.”

Simon Tothill, Property and Development Director for Robert Hitchins Ltd, who own the Westagte 296-acre employment site with Harrow Estates plc, said: “This will be a huge boost to the local economy and is a very welcome investment by Highways England.

“It will change the profile of Westgate dramatically, and unlock a large and incredibly well located site which, already benefits from planning permission, for employment uses. It opens the door to significant economic activity and will provide for thousands of new jobs.

“The design of the Farm Lane Two Bridge option will now be taken forward and will involve the detailed design of the new layout including drainage requirements, pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian access, as well as environmental improvements.”

Subject to statutory approval under the Highways Act 1980 and approval from the Secretary of State, construction is planned to start by the end of 2017.

Another information event will be held before construction starts to ensure everyone understands details of the final proposal and the associated construction programme. The estimated cost of the scheme is £45 million.

http://www.highwaysindustry.com/new-motorway-junction-will-unlock-economic-growth-for-south-west/