6,000 Tonnes in a Weekend!
This summer we undertook the challenge of resurfacing a three mile stretch of the A63 outside Hull battling the elements against a tough deadline.
We designed and developed a maintenance scheme to resurface the eastbound carriageway of the A63 between South Cave and Welton in the East Riding of Yorkshire. This scheme formed part of significant £80m investment in Area 12 (Yorkshire and Humber) region to ensure drivers are provided with smoother and safer journeys in the region. It came about as the existing surface was reaching the end of its life and, with the route being a key link to ports and east coast tourism, the renewal work was a priority for the area.
After regularly achieving 1,000 tonnes per shift and facing an ever decreasing window to deliver the project we considered whether we could increase outputs enough over a weekend closure to deliver the scheme in a single weekend rather than several weeks of overnight closures and extended disruption. With Highways England fully behind us we went ahead.
The weather proved to be one of many challenges we faced that weekend as nearly 6,000 tonnes of resurfacing and deep road reconstruction needed to take place in a short 48 hour window. Careful planning using Lean tools and techniques was paramount for this scheme to be completed on time and to meet Highways England three imperatives; safety, customer and delivery: with a significant amount of resurfacing being laid, 1,900 tonnes, in the first shift alone. At the end of the weekend a total of 35,840 square metres of carriageway was resurfaced.
After the resurfacing we had to make the carriageway roadworthy for users as quickly as possible. Over a 17 hour period we replaced 768 reflective road studs and repainted 10,544 metres of white lines, which is the same as the length of the Humber Bridge just outside Hull.
In order to carry out the work quickly and safely the eastbound carriageway was closed to traffic between South Cave and Welton. With 18 people on each shift, there was a need to carefully coordinate roles and processes. This figure didn’t include the numerous lorry drivers or sub-contractors who were also given specific times for deliveries in order to help the scheme run like clockwork and reduce the risk to the workforce from the large number of traffic movements.
An extra challenge for the scheme was the overhead structures such as bridges and high voltage cables. So in order to prevent vehicles hitting these when tipping the material into the road paver, A-one+ used walking floor lorries. These are not used frequently because they come with a separate trailer which can be restrictive due to their size.
The scheme was delivered with the help of 5 key partners from the local supply chain. Over 119 trucks; an average of 30 each day and again each night, running 1 hour to site and back to keep plant, equipment, operatives and materials working and to schedule throughout the duration.
Mark Ramsden of Highways England said:
“Due to other work on both our own network and the adjacent local authority roads -, we needed to deliver this scheme quickly, efficiently and safely. We were also conscious of Hull’s City of Culture event programme and didn’t want any longer term disruption so we did work closely with the local authority to ensure this didn’t have too big of an impact. “We decided to carry out the work in a single weekend, rather than undertake it using traditional night closures over 2 weeks.
“I am extremely proud of the effort everyone put into this scheme.
“The Area 12 team continuously look at how we can be leaner in developing and delivering work. This is another great example of how Highways England work collaboratively with the A-one+ and supply chain to carefully plan and orchestrate schemes, resulting in a great achievement all round.
“We are currently undertaking a lessons learnt exercise to inform future schemes of this type.”
Andrew Sharp – Area 12 Programme Delivery Manager said: “The successful delivery of this scheme wasn’t just a coincidence. We have to deliver efficiencies and we always look at how we can increase productivity to achieve this. The project team spent considerable time liaising with internal teams including Highways England, the supply chain and stakeholder to ensure success was engineered without risk. Our integrated project delivery teams include, design, commercial and construction disciplines working collaboratively together ensuring that all our projects have the best opportunity for success.
“Crucial to the achievement of this scheme though was the early and detailed planning with stakeholders and supply chain. This included ensuring everyone involved was aligned with the plans and bought into the scheme objectives.
“With the A63 being fully closed over a weekend and all traffic diverted on to local roads, liaison with the local authority and police was important. The timing of the work was carefully planned to avoid any conflicts with work planned on local roads or major events.
“Our project team also leaned on tried and tested relationships with our supply chain. This was vital from a logistics perspective in achieving the increased productivity on this scheme. The sequence of work activities was carefully planned and executed to ensure process time was reduced and waiting time (waste) was eliminated.
“An excellent example of this was the planing out part of the carriageway on the Thursday night in advance of the weekend closure. This allowed surfacing operations to begin immediately once the closure had been established, without having to wait on the planing operation to complete.
“The achievement of this scheme in setting new productivity milestones was a direct result of mature project management and relationships, an embedded Lean culture delivering fantastic efficiency savings and common team objectives ensuring seamless transition from design to construction.”