A14 - on site innovation

We were a key delivery partner to the A14 Integrated Delivery Team, who together delivered the UK's largest road construction project. The IDT consisted of our customers Balfour Beatty, Costain and Skanska, who were all part of the joint venture appointed by Highways England.

Together they upgraded 21 miles of the East of England’s major trunk road between Cambridge and Huntingdon in a £1.5 billion project.

The scheme began in 2016 and over a four-year period saw the road widening to three lanes in each direction. It also included a brand new 17-mile bypass south of Huntingdon. This new bypass will have four lanes in each direction between Bar Hill and Girton.

The A14 is a key route between the East Coast and the Midlands. These improvements will speed up journeys by up to 20 minutes whilst adding capacity to the network, boosting the local and national economy and will provide a safer passage for the 85,000 travellers who use the road every day.

The scheme was completed ahead of schedule and handed over eight months early in 2020.

Customer Name
Costain, Balfour Beatty, Skanska
Project and Location

The Challenge

A project of this size was highly complex due to its sheer scale and tight deadlines. It involved a construction team of over 2,200 people from the IDT joint venture, alongside their sub-contractors.

A total of 10 million cubic metres of earth has been moved, 34 bridges and structures have been built, including a 750-metre long viaduct and a critical junction constructed spanning eight lanes of traffic.

The construction works carried out demanded a rigorous schedule in order to meet the timescales set. It was crucial that equipment was available instantly, with no delay and that work continued during the dark winter months.

However, with all construction it was vital that environmental objectives were met so any solutions had to not impact negatively regarding carbon emissions, power use or light pollution.

The Solution

We provided two key solutions to meet the challenges.

First, we launched a large, dedicated on-site hire facility manned by one of our Rental Managers. The facility had a vast range of equipment in stock, readily available. This gave every contractor the ability to hire out hundreds of pieces of equipment immediately without ever leaving the site. The equipment available ranged from power tools and plant machinery to temporary accommodation and tower lights. Our team also provided a dedicated driver to transport the equipment across site as needed, and a Regional Account Manager to oversee the whole project.

Secondly, we sourced the latest cutting-edge lighting towers and invested in a new fleet of 110 towers specifically for this scheme. Two primary models of equipment were provided, the Generac V20 lighting towers and the TRIME X-Eco tower lights. Both were chosen for their environmentally sound nature and advanced features.

The V20 model offered 4x 320W high efficiency LED lamp floodlights, providing more than 160 hours of lighting without the need for refuelling. They are also amongst the quietest of lighting systems on the market with only 58 dB(A) at seven metres. A digital controller manages every function of the lighting tower for ease of use and the floodlights are powered with low voltage, ensuring on-site safety.

TRIME X-Eco tower lights are also a green option, with 6x 150W long lasting LED lamps guaranteed for 50,000 hours and light sensors for an automatic stop/start. They are economical to run, with a fuel usage of just 0.55ltrs/hr allowing 200 hours running time on a full tank.

The Results

With a strong focus on service delivery and meeting customer needs, our team added significant value to the project.

Through the on-site hire facility, we brought convenience and efficiency to plant and equipment hire making us the number one supplier on-site. Also, with all of our equipment being available at source we helped reduce the site's carbon footprint.

Our team drew on the latest industry advances by investing in the right product for lighting the working area so construction could continue around the clock. Due to the inclusion of LED lamps on the product sourced our customers also benefited from efficiency and cost savings as the bulbs did not require replacement. The fact that the solution was environmentally efficient enabled the joint venture team to continue to meet their sustainability objectives.

This was a landmark, award-winning construction scheme that we are very proud to have been part of. It is the first major infrastructure site that has been classified as a Considerate Contractors Scheme ‘Ultra Site’, where both contractors and the entire supply chain work to the same high standards.

Sunbelts lighting towers have enabled the construction team to continue work on the A14 improvement scheme during the winter months by providing powerful illumination on-site. As the tower lights are powered by LED lighting and offer significant environmental benefits, they have helped us meet our sustainability objectives. I am also pleased to report there have been very few breakdowns, despite the high number of 110 lighting units at peak use.
Tim Maskell, Senior Buyer for the joint venture

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