Civil Engineering

CIVIL ENGINEERING PROJECT

A38 Fradley to Barton

THE POWER OF CONNECTIONS

The A38 multi-disciplinary scheme was a unique challenge, predominantly due to the complexity of the assets that needed to be upgraded, and the need to meet the requirements of the range of stakeholders and customers.

The scheme required exceptional levels of planning and collaboration across 22 different teams from National Highways and 10 delivery partners, but the most impressive aspect was the liaison and involvement of the external stakeholders.

‘This scheme didn’t start with outputs, it started with identifying the outcomes we wanted to achieve. We recognised that we needed to make the core assets easier to maintain and repair. We didn’t want to create chaos in the surrounding villages, and we wanted to resolve a number of long-standing customer complaints. These were all outcomes; we knew that the outputs would follow naturally by addressing what we wanted to achieve.’

The scheme took place from March to October 2023, along a 7km stretch of dual-carriageway between Lichfield and Burton-upon-Trent. Activities included the replacement of the vehicle restraint system, road surfacing and marking, streetlight upgrades, improved signage, de-vegetation of the verges and significant drainage improvements.

An evolving Solution

The original scheme was to renew 800m of vehicle restraint system which was way past its design life. Half of it was set into concrete, with the carriageway too narrow to allow single-lane running during installation of a new design. This meant carriageway closures and a huge diversion route to avoid the serious and high-profile complaints occurring previously from villages along the A515.

The theory behind the schemes evolution was, if we’re going to cause the amount of disruption predicted, we should go all-in! So what began as a difficult and overdue barrier replacement, evolved into a multi-million-pound scheme addressing several additional issues, to resolve years of frustrations from road users and local communities.

Working in such close proximity to residential properties, the scheme was programmed to work around school exams and holidays to minimise disruption. A Public Information Event was carried out and Carnell brought in a Public Liaison Officer well ahead of the construction phase. The PLO coordinated meetings with councillors, parish councils, MPs, major stakeholders and the general public ahead of and throughout the scheme.

Collaborative Working

Collaboration was at the core of how we were able to efficiently complete the scheme. Specialist delivery partners meant each team focused on their area of expertise, quickly overcoming unforeseen challenges. This greatly improved value for money as all contractors worked directly through the NH framework at agreed prices to complete the works.

As well as reducing disruption, bringing all the maintenance activities together into the same road closures, reduces the repeated need and cost of traffic management for the foreseeable future.

It wasn’t just the construction works which were collaborative. Working with parish councils and the National Memorial Arboretum, a Community Wants and Needs Assessment was carried out and social value initiatives delivered. Meanwhile local authorities used the road closures to collect litter from the verges.

Delivery Partners

Falling under the National Highways Operations Directorate, the scheme would be delivered through the Scheme Delivery Framework and the partners of the Midlands Collaborative Community (MCC):

  • Carnell (PC & General Civil Engineering)
  • Roocroft (Road Restraint Systems)
  • Chevron (Traffic Management)
  • AC Landscapes (Landscape & Ecology)
  • WJ (Road Markings)
  • Mway Comms (Technology
  • Aggregate Industries (Pavement)
  • Colas (M&R)
  • McCann (LED Upgrades)
  • Kier (Designer)

Benefits

Safety
  • The AFR for both National Highways and supply chain staff was zero.
Customer
  • 24/7 contact number for local residents.
  • Considerate Constructors Scheme: ‘Excellent’ rating.
  • 172 enquiries via the Customer Contact Centre – much lower than would be expected without a PLO.
  • Use of SafetyCam to deter speeding along rat-runs.
Delivery
  • 7,513m barrier replaced
  • 12,050 tonnes surfacing.
  • 700 streetlight LED upgrades.
  • 70km road markings.
  • 888 gullies overhauled.
  • 24 road signs.
  • 1,000 sqm sedum and 3,330 sqm grass seed.