A64 Carriageway Renewal Team


Background

One of our carriageway renewal schemes in 2018/19 was for the A64 between York and Malton the single carriageway section making design and delivery quite a challenge.

The scope of work was the surfacing renewal of 8.25 lane kilometres of single carriageway including long lengths of carriageway reconstruction, 1275 metres requiring inlays of 150-300 millimetres and a short section of total reconstruction 1 metre deep.

Solution

While we were developing the scheme we set some key project aims:

  • minimising the impact of the work on road users and local residents
  • ensuring that the works were completed as safely as possible
  • delivering the works as cost effectively as possible

We challenged ourselves with the A-one+ vision of ‘One team delivering highway excellence’ to achieve these project aims.

Our Approach

One of our project managers led the scheme, working with our integrated delivery team– made up of design, commercial and construction disciplines. Working together from the start of the scheme development to develop the right conditions for successful delivery.

As the leading maintenance provider on lean maturity (3.3 scored through Highways England Lean Maturity Assessment), our teams are highly experienced in using lean tools and techniques including:

  • Collaborative programme planning
  • Plan-do-check-act (PDCA) weekly production cells

We also used the mature relationships with our supply chain to ensure buildability input was included in the implementation planning. This was crucial in planning the sequence of work activities collaboratively.

Key to the success of the scheme was the management of a stakeholder communication plan. We used our relationships with key stakeholders (local authorities, emergency services and public transport operators) to gain support for the traffic management plan, and to ensure that key messages were issued to the public.

Faced with an extremely challenging scope of work, we quickly concluded that the best solution – considering safety, cost and customers – was a series of weekend road closures. However, we had 2 major challenges to address:

  • No straightforward diversion routes
  • The only access for Crambeck and Huttons Ambo villages (over 200 properties) was to use part of the closed section of road

Our team and supply chain carefully planned work to maximise the productivity while maintaining access for residents, emergency and site vehicles. Conveniently the works could be split into 2 – with works focusing eastbound on one weekend and westbound on another.

The team then worked to gain support from other stakeholders – primarily three local authorities responsible for roads on the proposed diversion routes. A substantial traffic management plan was developed with different signed diversion routes for east- and west-bound traffic, over 550 signs used, and a system of managing resident access.

Working with Highways England attention turned to the road users and adopting many of the principles from “Roadworks – A Customer’s View”. The team developed a comprehensive communication strategy, placing customers at the heart of the project. The aims and objectives were to:

  • Maximise advance awareness of closures and diversion routes
  • Explain why they were necessary
  • Minimise inconvenience for residents

Some statistics from on of the full weekend closures showcase the logistical challenge and collaboration

  • 46 operatives maintaining and installing traffic management
  • 4 planers and sweepers used Friday for surfacing to start Saturday
  • 3 pavers, 41 wagons and 3 different plant vehicles in use over Saturday and Sunday laying 4500 tonnes of material
  • 900 road studs and new centre and edge lines laid ready for re-opening

Project implementation was a huge success. Work progressed better than planned during the two weekends, so we completed additional work during the second weekend closure. The site team also brought forward the start of the second weekend closure by 60 minutes avoiding cancellation due to a high risk that traffic management could not be established safely because of adverse weather.

The keys to the success were:

  • The excellent teamwork and collaboration at all stages of the project
  • The teams’ commitment and dedication in the implementation of the traffic management and stakeholder communication plans

Proactive engagement led to very few complaints, and a significant amount of positive feedback vindicating the time and effort put in by the team to enhance the customer experience during these works.

Closing the main route to the east coast through Yorkshire over several weekends was never going to be easy. Together with standard scheme communications; press releases, letter drops and localised hard signing our strategy included several new initiatives to go that extra mile.

Community Access

  1. Access route always available past working areas
  2. In addition to start of works letters, we sent information about specific access arrangements for different areas within the closure. Each property received two small cards to leave in their vehicles providing brief instructions to follow and 24hour contact numbers
  3. Continuously staffed access points where residents/visitors were escorted to/from their properties.

Widening our Reach

Several pro-active actions were taken to address the diverse needs of other road users (including core road users, nearby businesses, residents on diversion routes, and events/tourist attractions).

Planning:

  1. Closures planned to avoid school holidays and Pickering War Weekend.
  2. Alternative arrangements agreed with Coastliner (bus operator), publicised and implemented during the closures
  3. Advance resurfacing on the diversion
  4. Parking restrictions at key pinch points.

Publicity:

  1. Several radio interviews and local newspapers published articles about the closures
  1. Letters sent to businesses, tourist attractions and event organisers allowing them to advise their customers accordingly, e.g. details included in the Scarborough 10k Road Race competitor information packs
  2. Scheme webpage and leaflet produced, enabling the sharing of information about the need for the closure and the traffic management plan.
  3. Social media:
  4. Regular updates were posted to Twitter, with many re-tweeted by local sports organisations, businesses and media outlets, helping maximise the digital spread
  5. Roadside signing:
  6. 40+ advanced signs erected including core strategic routes a considerable distance from the closure.
  7. Six mobile VMS signs
  8. Enhanced signing (incorporating the Highways England logo) used on the diversion routes, providing confidence to road users, and preventing a diversion route signage clash
  9. Responding to feedback from the first weekend we added more signs for the second weekend

At the heart of this scheme was our customers – be that the local residents or wider road users. In embracing many of the principles from “Roadworks – A Customer’s View” on this project we  have demonstrated that we care about our customers. The project team considered a diverse range of customers and went above the normal to improve their experiences; helping them to feel in control of their journeys and providing information to enable them to plan safer and more efficient journeys.

Lasting Legacy

We are already using many of these initiatives on other schemes, with the “customer” getting a much higher priority. The lessons learnt, and the initiatives used have been shared across the other Integrated Delivery Teams within the Area 12 team.

We also believe that A-one+ is leading the way nationally in customer excellence, with the innovative methods used on this project helping to demonstrate this. Our IDT Project Manager was asked by Highways England to present on the subject of “Transforming Roadworks” at the Highways UK event in November 2018. This scheme was one of two case studies used to demonstrate the work that A-one+ has been doing to raise the importance of proactive customer engagement. In addition, Highways England have used some of the initiatives in case studies to support their customer communication strategy.