Once you Start Collaborating the Benefits Keep on Coming
Minimising the impact of road improvement schemes always calls for careful planning. And when two significant schemes intersect or are in close proximity, the potential for disruption to road users can be multiplied unless all partners collaborate freely.
On the positive side, collaboration that gives equal weight to the needs and priorities of both schemes opens the way for even greater benefits for the projects, road users and the environment.
A good example is the recent improvement to the M40 J12 slip road, the dualling of 1400m of the B4451/B4100 and the link to the industrial park at Gaydon. Highways England and Warwickshire County Council decided to implement these urgently needed upgrades in parallel to support the planned expansion of Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon facility.
With two projects running together there was the potential for significant disruption. It clearly made sense to engage the same traffic management company for the two schemes. This improved the management of traffic flows for both regular and works traffic and helped avoid traffic management clashes.
The scheduled M40 slip road closures could have disrupted deliveries to the dualling scheme, potentially affecting programme schedules and quality. Collaborative planning meetings between the two sites secured an agreement for the surfacing and aggregate suppliers to pass safely through the M40 slip road works with full Chapter 8 compliance.
Additional Benefits of Collaboration
Collaborative relationships resulted in further benefits that might not have been realised if the schemes were executed in isolation. For example, running in parallel allowed 2,500m3 of clay excavated from the M40 J12 slip road works to be used in the dualling scheme. Less waste was taken to landfill and 600 lorry movements were shortened, totalling a saving of 7,500 road miles.
The use of CEMAR software was a significant aid to collaborative project planning. It brought rigour to change management and the process for technical queries, early warnings and risk reduction.
We’ve talked in previous articles about how collaboration is fundamental to improving safety on infrastructure projects. But it’s clear that excellent collaboration offers many benefits besides. In this case, it helped maintain a safe effective network, reduced the impact on the environment, and secured project timings for both schemes.
Most importantly, being able to run the schemes in parallel ensured that road users only had one period of disruption, rather than one scheme starting just as the other finished.
Next time, who knows? Once you start collaborating seriously there’s no telling where the benefits will stop.