Why Collaboration Drives Better Infrastructure Project Outcomes
Ensuring that the nation’s transport infrastructure is fit for purpose involves a dilemma. On the one hand, the task is to create substantial infrastructure assets that will stand the test of time. On the other, there’s a need to be responsive and adapt to changing needs.
The demands placed on our infrastructure are constantly evolving. Communities grow, traffic flows alter and, as always, there’s a desire for greater sustainability. So a substantial asset such as a river bridge might need to be replaced to meet new needs.
Unlike when it was built, the bridge now has businesses and people who have come to rely on it every day. It’s no longer surrounded by undeveloped land but by communities and business premises. So replacing it with something that can handle heavier vehicles and more traffic, and provide dedicated routes for cyclists and pedestrians isn’t going to be easy.
Hertfordshire County Council faced this issue with the New River Bridge – the only route into Hoddesdon Business Park. The mixed-use park provides over 5000 jobs and is a significant contributor to the local economy. The bridge was too narrow for HGVs to pass so a wider structure was needed. In line with the trend towards more sustainable transport, a safe cycleway and improved pedestrian access were also within the project scope.
Consultation and Creativity
Osborne was engaged at the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) stage. Effective projects that people remember for all the right reasons start with consultation and creativity. So we immediately embarked on a collaborative exercise that brought together our design partners WSP and key suppliers. We consulted widely with Hertfordshire County Council and local businesses and communities to identify needs and concerns and design the optimum solution.
The solution involved routing the new 270m road and bridge from an existing junction across disused land to the Business Park. The execution was carefully designed to minimise disruption and the environmental impact. This involved improving the soil for ground-bearing abutments in place of piled foundations, and protecting the riverbank during construction using sheet piles that were installed silently.
Disruption during the project was minimised using a temporary access road and bridge for plant and material movements. The collaborative approach is typical of many Osborne infrastructure projects in which we bring together specialists and stakeholders to design solutions that meet everyone’s needs.