Highways England digs deep to prepare for A12 improvements
Highways England teams working through the covid-19 pandemic have dug deep to keep a major road upgrade on track.
As part of the site surveys for improving a key route between London and the Port of Felixstowe, roadworkers have drilled way below the ground with their combined efforts at 310 sites to date stretching down almost one-and-a-half miles.
The work has all been done following strict social distancing, so that despite the pandemic, the upgrade of a section of the A12 in Essex remains on track.
Stephen Elderkin, Project Director, said:
“The work we are doing here is a crucial part of designing and delivering our upgrade on the A12.
“By carrying on our work through this period, we’ve minimised disruption to road users while ensuring the project is not delayed.
“Our ground investigation work is shaping our understanding of the conditions around the A12 and will help inform our plans when we begin upgrading the road in 2023/24, ahead of its opening by 2027/28.
Highways England’s upgrade will add an extra traffic lane in each direction along 15-miles of the A12 between Chelmsford and Marks Tey.
When complete, the scheme will save up to eight minutes on each of the 83,000 journeys made on the road every day.
The ground surveys that have been carried out will help to develop the proposals by giving engineers a clearer picture of the type of soils, rock and groundwater beneath the broad area of the proposed new road, while also allowing them to plan how their designs will improve the existing A12.
Since November, 341 road workers on the upgrade have worked a total of 155,250 hours and have investigated 423 sites – the equivalent of almost 18 years. Their work has covered 495 hectares of the route, including over 45 miles of drainage surveys, covering 54 culverts, and testing 271 samples of the road surface.
The team has continued to work throughout the current Coronavirus pandemic by practising social distance, using additional C-19 personal protective equipment, and providing virtual site tours, amongst other innovations.
Body temperature checks before starting work, rigorously cleaning and sanitising equipment and individual care packs offered to all staff on the scheme have also contributed to working successfully throughout the lockdown.
The A12 team has also worked closely with other local road projects to minimise the number of times the road is closed, coordinating their work with 14 other operations.
Details of road closures and diversion routes during the investigative work are at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A12, and live traffic information can be found at www.trafficengland.com, or on Twitter @HighwaysEAST. Drivers should plan ahead and allow more time for their journeys whilst the surveys are underway.