We are proud to announce that the QEII Bridge expansion joint replacement scheme won the Temporary Works Award at the British Construction Industry Awards on Wednesday 14 October.
The event, held at London’s prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel and hosted by Lord William Hague, saw colleagues from Connect Plus, Connect Plus Services, framework contractors Jackson Civil Engineering and framework designers Flint & Neill collect the award.
The scheme saw an original concept – devised by Connect Plus – turned into a reality by engaging with framework designers Flint & Neill, contractors Jackson Civil Engineering and manufacturers Mayflower Engineering.
All parties worked in close collaboration to tackle the challenge at hand; replacing six movement joints on one of the country’s most high profile road structures, all without implementing any day-time lane restrictions or speed limits.
When presented with the challenge, existing proprietary ramp solutions were considered. However, all these required speed reductions to 20 or 30 mph, and did not provide unhindered access to the work site. The resulting congestion would have suffocated the region had a significant impact on the economy. In monetary terms, a speed restriction of 30mph would have equated to a £1.3m monthly charge for Connect Plus and with an 18-month project programme ahead, would have totalled £23.4m; three times the entire project cost.
Connect Plus, along with their framework designer and contractors, researched and developed a bespoke system that would allow full speed traffic to use the bridge during the day and easy night-time access to complete installation work when required.
The solution was a bespoke temporary over-ramp innovation, a world-first for joint replacement on this scale. It enabled the removal of the old joint, hydro-demolition and steel work to be safely undertaken from beneath the road deck during the day. Further night-time closures, which could be lane-by-lane or whole carriageway, were used for further hydro-demolition, installation of the new joints and finishing work.
Whilst in-situ, 30.2 million vehicles drove over the ramps, their drivers largely unaware of their presence, or indeed the work going on underneath them. Considering this number in the context of delays that could have been caused by the works, the benefits for this temporary works method are unquantifiable.
The ramps are already being re-used on another project on the M25 at Gade Valley, and are due to be used on the M1 Fiveways Interchange later on this month. Further plans exist to continue to develop the over-ramp system and use them in additional 27 locations across the M25 DBFO network.
In that respect, this project was a triumph for the industry and another example of how Connect Plus, Connect Plus Services and its framework are turning innovation into best practice on the M25.
The judges said: “We were extremely impressed with both the specific solution and the potential for reuse on numerous future schemes. The solution involved innovation in both design and delivery, and the team are to be commended in their attention to detail and willingness to invest. The solution delivers a huge benefit to the travelling public, in that it is virtually imperceptible in use whilst providing a safe environment for the replacement works and minimising road closures. We can see huge potential for the approach, both in the UK and abroad. This, combined with the quality of the original work, has led us to unanimously select this as the winner.”