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Road users in West Yorkshire now benefit from safer, more reliable and less congested journeys after work to upgrade the M62 (junctions 25 to 30) to a smart motorway was completed more than a month early and under budget.
The improvements to the M62 include the use of a range of smart technologies to reduce congestion and smooth the flow of traffic. During busy periods, operators at the regional control centre in Wakefield set overhead message signs to tell drivers they can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane and at what speed to drive (via variable mandatory speed limits). Lane closure information is also displayed as needed in the event of an incident or road works. When the hard shoulder is not open to traffic, it is illegal to use unless in an emergency.
The scheme was the first in the country to use remote controlled signs to ensure that workers did not have to cross the live carriageway during construction. This ‘zero crossings’ initiative saved more than 45,000 crossings of the carriageway and earned a national award for Health and Safety from the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) in June 2013.
Providing a safe working environment for everyone was our number one priority. We ensured that everyone understood the part they played in their own safety and that of their co-workers, as well as the wider community.
We also employed seven apprentices, along with vocational students on university scholarships and provided educational visits to the site for students. The provision of a bike shed encouraged cycling to work, while staff also participated in the Oxfam Trailtrekker Challenge (a 100 kilometre hike that must be completed by a team of four in 30 hours) to raise funds for the charity.
We played our part in reducing energy consumption and emissions.
Eco tower lights and cabins were used to reduce gas oil requirements, while rainwater was harvested for the toilet systems. We improved our resource efficiency, reducing the total amount of waste sent to landfill and reusing lighting columns and crash barriers.
Our supply chain had a vital role to play in helping us meet our sustainability objectives, and we encouraged our suppliers to source and provide sustainable materials.
We provided sustainable employment opportunities based on local communities and schemes to recruit and train people. We were awarded the Considerate Constructors Scheme Silver award in May 2013 which recognised our consideration for the local community. Activities included letter drops, public exhibitions on the project, and donations to local good causes.
Harsh winter conditions proved a challenge for the project, together with night working across approximately 1,000 night time closures.
“The improvements we have brought to the M62 demonstrate how a smart and efficient solution can deliver the improvements that road users need: more capacity and better management of traffic to reduce congestion and make journey times more reliable."
“We worked to upgrade over 15 miles of the motorway, and with 144,000 vehicles using this stretch every day, we had the challenge of ensuring that we kept traffic moving while making sure the construction timetable was met. This makes it all the more remarkable that our contractors have been able to finish earlier than planned.”David Pilsworth
Highways Agency project manager
Baker Hicks Joint venture partner – BAM Nuttall
Chartered Institution of Highways and Transport Health and Safety Award 2013
Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) Silver Award 2013
Chartered Institution of Highways and Transport Major Project of the Year Award 2014