A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling
National Highways / Galliford Try
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At a Glance:
  • 1,000,000M3 OF EARTHWORKS

Project Outline: -

The A303 corridor provides vital connectivity between the south west and London and the south east for people, communities and businesses, including the tourist industry which is so important to the south west. But there are problems along the route. In particular there are several single carriageway sections where road users suffer congestion and long delays. The problems are even worse at peak holiday times during the summer months and on weekends, when over an hour can be added to a typical journey between London and the south west.

In recognition of this and the harmful effects this has on the south west’s economy, the Government’s Road Investment Strategy sets out the intention to transform connectivity by upgrading the A303 corridor to a high quality dual carriageway.

The section of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester comprises of a mix of dual and single lane carriageway. This leads to localised congestion, impacting adversely on journey times and journey time reliability.

On a normal day, up to 23,500 vehicles use this single carriageway section. At weekends in the summer the number of vehicles using this section of road can increase. This is more traffic than the road is designed to carry.

The £135M scheme between Sparkford and Ilchester will not only promote economic growth in this area of Somerset, it will also tackle a long-standing bottleneck, reduce journey times to the South West and improve traffic flows in that area at peak times and during peak seasons.

Walters were appointed by Galliford Try to undertake the earthworks for the scheme which involved moving approximately 1,000,000m3 of earth over two earthworks seasons.

Project Delivery: -

Our pre-construction team worked with Galliford Try to develop a delivery plan for the bulk earthworks based around seasonal working in order to maximise working efficiencies and minimise disruption to road users.

Walters mobilised to site in August 2021 to commence the first earthworks season. The Season 1 objective was to excavate approx. 90,000m3 of earth from the main cut area at Steart Hill to allow Galliford Try to occupy this area at the end of the season to construct an overbridge structure.

Walters constructed a 2km haul road to connect the Steart Hill excavation area to the main fill area at Hazelgrove. Once the haul road was complete, Walters were able to haul excavated material to fill areas in Hazelgrove.

Walters mobilised a GPS enabled next generation Cat 349 excavator in the main cut area to maximise efficiency and control of the excavation. The main excavator was serviced by a Cat 336 excavator and a Cat D6 dozer.

Excavated material was hauled along the 2km haul road to the main fill area via a fleet of new Volvo A30 ADT’s. The haul road was maintained throughout to ensure that the operation was as efficient as possible. The team monitored efficiencies and outputs using telematic data throughout the process. Fill material was received and placed in Hazelgrove with a fleet of Cat D6 dozers and Cat CS 76 vibratory soil compactors.

Season 2 works commenced in 2022 and saw the bulk of the earthworks completed with over 600,000m3 of earth moved. To minimise disruption to existing A303 road users, a temporary bridge was installed across the busy A303 to allow excavated material from the main cuttings to reach fill areas without disrupting the day-today use of the A303. The new bridge kept construction traffic off the main road, ensuring that the bulk earthworks element of the scheme had minimal impact on drivers. Over 450,000m3 of material was move across the bridge. Over 50 items of new company owned heavy earthmoving plant we utilised at the height of the works.

Following completion of the Season 2 bulk earthworks in October 2022, the project now moves into the next phase which will see Walters undertaking work around tie-ins to the existing carriageway and re-soiling of completed areas.

Walters expect to complete their work at the project in December 2023.