Satellites bring savings to earthworks

Author: Natalie Binder, May 2016 

Commuters travelling through one of the most exclusive areas of Cheshire, England, United Kingdom will soon be able to do so without the usual holdups and inconvenience of traffic chaos thanks to Highways England, Costain, the Walters Group and Leica Geosystems.

The A556 Knutsford to Bowdon road improvement scheme is a 7.5 kilometre stretch of dual carriageway running from junction 19 of the M6 to junction 7 of the M56. Numerous accidents have occurred over the years on this stretch of road and the local community has been very vocal about wanting road improvements. Speed cameras have been introduced to try and reduce speed-related incidents, but an increase in traffic to almost 50,000 vehicle movements per day has seen holdups and delays on the road increase to a daily event. The existing dual carriageway encompasses a variety of busy traffic light controlled junctions, and while these generate holdups, traffic turning right off the A556 causes further disruption. To alleviate these problems and to improve access to and from Manchester Airport, Highways England drew up plans to construct a new road to allow free flowing traffic between the motorway junctions with the help of Leica Geosystems Machine Control.

The Walters Group is based in Hirwaun, South Wales but operates nationwide on civil engineering and earthmoving contracts, currently operating one of the largest earthmoving fleets in Europe. Walters is the preferred earthmoving sub-contractor for Costain for projects throughout the UK, bringing its expertise to the table through Early Contractor Involvement (ECI).

This ECI allows both the contractor and subcontractor to assess the best possible working methods for undertaking the project and negates the possibility of conflict as the job progresses.

While many road schemes in recent years have centred on realignment and widening of existing carriageways, the A556 will only involve altering 1km of existing carriageway with the remaining 6.5km in greenfield away from the existing road. The use of Leica Geosystems Machine Control proved to be the perfect accompaniment to this construction project.

Explore next chapter: Staying on track with GNSS solutions

Story: Satellites bring savings to earthworks
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Staying on track with GNSS solutions
Chapter 3: Just the right amount

Reporter 74 - May 2016

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