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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.

Daniel Jellyman cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure and heritage.

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.

Stoke on Trent Joiners roundabout nightmare traffic before improvement works

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.

1. A lower carbon footprint by using a vacuum excavator. Using a vacuum excavator instead of more traditional digging methods means you can achieve the same results with fewer lorries and fewer pieces of heavy equipment on site. It’s not only more pleasant to be around, but also means your project’s carbon footprint is reduced. The planet benefits, and you’re staying in line with the UK Government’s strategy to halve construction’s carbon emissions by 2025. 2. A lot less dust No matter what type of material you’re excavating, using vacuum excavation creates far less dust than other methods. Moving spoil around on open-top vehicles such as dumpers, excavators and lorries, or on conveyor belts, inevitably results in huge quantities of dust being released into the air. Vacuum excavation sucks all the spoil and dust directly from the excavation into the vacuum excavator itself, which is better for the environment, the general public and site workers. Hiring a vacuum excavator is a quick and easy way to help your site conform with the HSE’s current ‘Dustbuster’ campaign, cracking down on dust on site to reduce respiratory risks to workers. 3. Smaller excavations Using a vacuum excavator can reduce the size of excavations by up to a third in comparison with traditional methods such as a mini digger, using less energy and creating a much smaller impact on the wider site and off-site environment as described by vac uk. 4. Smaller sites Smaller excavations as a result of using a suction excavator instead of traditional methods lead to the knock-on effect of smaller construction sites altogether. Both pedestrian and road traffic can flow more freely, keeping everyone from commuters to neighbouring households and businesses happy. Add on the associated carbon savings of reduced idling vehicle traffic, and the environmental benefits are palpable. 5. Less spoil Suction excavation is an extremely efficient method, targeting the exact areas needed and reducing spoil to the minimum necessary. Producing less spoil overall means that there is less that needs to be tipped or recycled, providing both and environmental and cost saving to any project. 6. Reduced risk of contamination Traditional excavation methods are unavoidably messy. By contrast, vacuum excavators suck all spoil and dust away immediately and contain them. No excess spoil is left lying around with the potential to contaminate surface water or drains. 7. Grab loader efficiency Having a grab loader hanging around site longer than necessary involves many potential hazards, from disrupting traffic to causing damage to third parties. Vacuum excavation makes it easy to use grab loaders far more efficiently, keeping any negative effects to an absolute minimum. 8. Tree preservation Traditional excavation methods often cause irreparable damage to the roots of trees and shrubs, destroying the natural environment around an excavation site. The precision and accuracy of vacuum excavation allows you to remove the ground between trees and shrubs with minimal disruption, keeping your sites green on every level. 9. Less demolition work. Vacuum excavators are ideally suited to hard-to-access sites. Instead of performing extra demolition works to bring heavy plant close to the excavation site – increasing your carbon footprint and the time and cost of your project – a Vac Ex fitted with a long hose can excavate remotely. 10. Reduced air pollution. All vacuum excavators are not created equal. If you want to ensure you’re hiring an environmentally-friendly model, work with Vac UK Ltd. With the newest fleet of any UK vacuum excavation rental company, you’ll find the whole fleet have engines that conform to the new Euro 6 standards, reducing pollution and smoothing the way if you’re working within Ultra Low Emission or Clean Air Zones. 11. Increased productivity. Vacuum excavation is a quick, precise, less invasive process than either hand-digging or using heavy plant. Couple this innate efficiency with the fact that suction excavation is also far safer, reducing time lost to damage or accidents, and a Vac Ex will increase productivity on site – benefitting the environment and your bottom line.
VAC UK vacuum excavator operator digging safely around live utilities using the latest technology

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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