« BackNews ( Industry )
10th Mar 2017
Smart motorways are Highways England’s answer to a £2 billion problem: congestion. It makes journey times longer, roads more dangerous and increases road emissions. Instead of simply building more and more lanes, smart motorways use technology to enable the hard shoulder to be used as a normal lane. Electronic signs inform motorists of lane closures and variable speed limits, resulting in statistically safer sections of road.
While there may not be any new lanes being built, converting sections of road to Smart motorways is still a challenging endeavour. The system relies on collecting more information about traffic levels, and using this information to communicate intelligently with road users. This requires, amongst other things, the installation of CCTV cameras, overhead electronic signs, as well as construction of emergency refuge areas.
A joint venture between Costain and Galliford Try was formed to undertake the £65 million conversion of parts of the M1, which will effectively add 292 extra miles of lanes. For part of the project Wernick Hire were asked to provide welfare for the site operatives working around junction 18.
“The timeframe for delivering the units was quite tight,” commented Ria Hatcher, Assistant Depot Manager with Wernick. “We had to coordinate with other local depots to ensure we could deliver all the required units on time.”
Thankfully congestion didn’t prove to be a problem in getting the units to site, with everything delivered on schedule. A range of different products were needed, including storage containers and both static and mobile welfare units with hot wash facilities, all of which were provided in the client’s corporate colours.
Are there any challenges to delivering units to the roadside? “There’s virtually no difference between roadworks and any other construction site,” Ria told us. “The only real difference in specification was the need to comply with Chapter 8 compliant, so the client needed to compliment their corporate colours with some high visbility markings.”
The overall smart motorway programme is worth a total of £1.55 billion, and is due to be completed in 2020.
To learn more about welfare from Wernick Hire click here.