VAC UK & Kilkern collaborate to help Galliford try end Stoke-on-Trent’s roundabout ‘nightmare’
4th Dec 2020
Local residents have described Stoke-on-Trent’s busy Joiners Square Roundabout as a ‘nightmare’, with their complaints to The Stoke Sentinel ranging from constant traffic jams to air pollution. Improvement works had been initially slated for 2018, so when the project finally secured funding in September 2020, getting the project completed efficiently, safely and with the least impact on the local community was the priority for client Stoke City Council and main contractor Galliford Try. Kilkern and VAC UK were fortunate to be chosen as the subcontractor on this exciting project.
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage, explained: “These important schemes will ease congestion and improve traffic flow at two key gateways to the city centre. They will reduce queue time, improve air quality and make it quicker to get from A to B in the city, which is good news for motorists, businesses and the economy. This investment in our infrastructure has been needed for some time and is vital as we power up the city and lay the foundations for the next 25 years. Carrying out phased improvements to the key pinch points on the road, will help to get traffic flowing more freely which will reduce pollution, create a greener city and make the area a more accessible place to live and do business.
The work is funded by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership who have contributed £7.1 million and is being delivered by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which is also making a £1.6 million contribution.
The project involves the full reconstruction and realignment of the roundabout and access roads, including whole site excavation, the relocation of statutory apparatus, new underground drainage, new drainage kerbs, construction of new footpaths and roads, and hard and soft landscaping. The works are to be carried out in a live environment, and so require a design and schedule that keeps vehicle and pedestrian traffic flowing, maintaining access for local residents and businesses.
Working collaboratively with Galliford Try, Kilkern’s experienced team have been able to help rephase the works to meet the council’s challenging timescale. After modelling various programme options and bringing its extensive experience of similar works to bear, Kilkern has helped develop a solution with larger working areas and simplified phases that will allow the project to be delivered more quickly and efficiently.
In addition, the team has been able to source alternative materials that are not only cheaper but also quicker and safer to install while remaining compliant with the project’s needs, such as replacing large diameter, heavy concrete drainage pipes with lighter plastic alternatives. As well as proving more cost effective and quicker to work with, these lighter pipes can be installed by smaller construction plant – a bonus on this tight, congested site.
Vacuum excavation is proving an ideal solution to the project’s excavation challenges. With a network of services across the site and members of the public in close proximity, enhanced safety has been a necessity, both throughout the enabling works which saw two VAC UK vacuum excavators on site, and throughout the rest of the project, where a machine will be at work for 50 days across the 22 week schedule. The use of suction excavation radically reduces the risk of utility strikes, protects staff from manual handling injuries, and improves air quality by producing less dust than traditional excavation methods.
The close relationship between Galliford Try, Kilkern and VAC UK has paid off on multiple levels. Meeting the client’s swift deadline has been possible down to the in-house vacuum excavator fleet, ready to start work with little notice. Kilkern site staff are also able to act as second men for VAC UK’s vacuum excavators, enhancing the efficiency of the team as a whole.
So the end is in sight for Stoke’s roundabout nightmares – thanks to a dream team of Galliford Try, Kilkern and VAC UK.
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