Gabions and MacMat geomats used in government-financed maxi-plan for roads improvement.
On 1st December 2014, the government announced an ambitious £15 billion plan to increase the capacity and condition of England’s roads, launched by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.
Yorkshire and North East of England were scheduled to benefit from 18 new schemes worth around £2.3 billion, creating an estimated 1,500 construction jobs.
Patrick McLoughlin stated: “This represents the biggest investment in roads in a generation and will transform the major corridors of the M1, M62 and A1. The new funding builds on the improvements that began in 2010.”
The Coal House to Metro centre stretch of the A1 was built 40 years ago and is considered to be one of the most congested in the Highways Agency’s network. It is being upgraded by creating new parallel link roads between the Lobley Hill and the Gateshead Quay (A184) junctions, increasing the lane capacity on the A1 from 2 to 3 lanes in each direction and reconfiguring existing merge and diverge arrangements.
The works are necessary due to the very high volumes of traffic moving on and off the A1 at closely positioned junctions, which results in stationary or slow moving traffic on the A1 and the strategic links into and out of Gateshead, causing long delays and unreliable journey times.
The gabion walling is likely to reach circa 4000m3 with over 7,000 tonnes of locally sourced gabion stone being used.
As there has been a history of land slips in the area, coupled with poor ground conditions, Balfour Beatty and Maccaferri needed to adopt unconventional working methods. This involved manufacturing ready for placement off-site prefilled gabions. Carrying out short lengths of excavation during the nightshift and placing the prefilled gabions first thing in the morning. This allowed the short section to be completed before midday and the process repeated during the day shift.
All Maccaferri gabion walls are between junctions 67-68. In addition to the 12 gabion walls there are also a number of sheet piled walls and a number of slopes being soil nailed. The soil nailing is being installed in conjunction with Maccaferri MacMat R which have now being covered with shotcrete, a spray-on concrete which uses MacMat R as a binder.
Once completed, the road will provide 3.98 miles of continuous 3-lane carriageway and is expected to be fully open to traffic by Spring 2016.
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