Walters completes on Major Roads infrastructure projects.

This summer marks the handover of at least five massive infrastructure projects for Walters Group. All running simultaneously, they were only possible for a single company to deliver due to the exceptional strength in depth of our plant fleet and management team, coupled with a dedicated corps of drivers, operators and site supervisors.

Traversing the country from East to West, they’ve spanned port access improvements in Immingham and Heysham – to major motorway junction remodelling and carriageway capacity upgrades on the M1, M6 and their associated major A-road junctions.

On the A160 at Immingham, we improved the old single carriageway access to the port and refinery (a significant local traffic delay blackspot), to full dual carriageway status. Keeping the traffic flowing, while undertaking significant bridge works (including a bridge slide under an existing national rail line) and minimising local disruption. During the ECI (early Contractor Involvement) stage, we even proposed using and refilling local “borrow pits”, which led to some 25,000 LESS lorry movements off site. This resulted in the project drawing praise for its environmental aspects, including a newly constructed Water Vole habitat, plus Bumble Bee friendly planting and landscaping.

Following a two year design and construction process, the A5/M1 interchange is nearing completion. The 2.8 mile dual carriageway, opening by June 2017, will become part of the existing A5 network. The new M1 junction 11A (which will connect the new road and Central Bedfordshire Council’s new Woodside Link road to the M1), will also open at the same time. The scheme includes two other new junctions and six new bridges, the new road replaces a section of the A5 through Dunstable, which is being handed over to Central Bedfordshire Council and Hertfordshire County Council.

Further up the M1 at Junction 19, we were appointed by Skanska to deliver a complex and challenging earthworks contract over the period 2105/2016. Through Early Contractor Involvement, we assisted with the design and buildability, minimising disruption to the busy interchange (handling 142,000 vehicle movement per day!). Using unique telemetry and GPS fitted to our plant fleet, we were able to maximise efficiency, speed and site safety by constant positional monitoring, improved real-time driver information. This also minimised the site staff and public interfaces with heavy plant in operation. In total over 1.1 million m3 of earth was moved and remodelled during the operation, which was delivered over 3 months ahead of schedule and under target cost.

The A556 Knutsford to Bowdon Improvement scheme is a £102 million project connecting the M6 at Junction 19 with the M56 at Junction 7 – a distance of 7.5km. Designed improve links between Greater Manchester and the West Midlands whilst improving the local environment, road safety and journey reliability. Early investigation work suggested that 250,000m3 of lime modification works would be required (due to the wet and variable nature of the material on site). This was largely avoided through the use of alternative drying and engineered modification methods. There were significant ecological constraints due to the presence of Great Crested Newts, bats, badgers and nesting birds in the local environment. We worked closely with the on-site ecological team to ensure the local protected species (and their habitats) suffered minimal impact, while over 1.1 million cubic metres of material were moved.

The £120 million Heysham to M6 Link road was designed as a means of linking the existing A683 to the M6 at Junction 34, via a new dual carriageway and combined cycle / footway (to give better access to Heysham Port and Power Station). The 5.2 km scheme necessitated the redesign of north and southbound M6 slip roads to increase traffic flow, in addition to the construction of a park and ride facility accommodating 600 vehicles. Although the road was predominantly built through green fields, there were eleven major structures to be constructed including crossings to the River Lune, the A6, the West Coast Mainline and Lancaster Canal; the scheme also required temporary crossings to be built across the A6 and the Lancaster canal. Using up to 60 items of our own plant, we were able to move over 120,000 tonnes of aggregate and 2.1 million m3 of cut-to-fill earthworks to complete the project.