National Highways unveils new ‘better, greener, smaller’ depots
Work has now been completed on the redevelopment of four National Highways depots which will bring together office and operations staff and offer ‘better, greener, smaller’ workplaces.
The new-look depots at Bescot (Walsall), Doxey (Stafford); Strensham and Warndon (both Worcestershire) are more environmentally friendly, safer and have a modern workplace feel. This offers more flexibility and encourages interaction between both National Highways teams and their partners.
The £20.7m scheme has been completed in under a year by contractor Morgan Sindall Construction with much of the expenditure going to local businesses.
National Highways Chief Executive, Nick Harris, said:
“The work we do at National Highways – operating, maintaining, and improving our roads – is carried out at our depots, control rooms and outstations, not in city centre offices. So it’s paramount that we give people working in those buildings a great place to work, near the road network, where they can plan and carry out their roles.
“These new depots, which are making the best use of modern techniques and technology to support our staff and the environment, are bringing together people who used to work in different places so they can work as one team. We have also been able to consolidate depots which were in need of redevelopment.
“We are also very considerate of our neighbours and the communities around our offices and our roads so we tried really hard to source as many contractors and suppliers that built the depots from the local area. Three out of every four pounds spent on a depot went to businesses within a 30-mile radius.”
The redevelopments included building new two-storey office buildings at Bescot and Doxey to be used by National Highways operational and non-operational staff, traffic officers, contractors and partners such as the Central Motorway Police Group.
A new salt barn and garage was built at Strensham and both of the Worcestershire depots were refurbished. An eco garden is among the new facilities at Strensham.
Sustainability was at the heart of the plans with carbon-reducing technologies incorporated into the buildings such as air source heat pumps which change the ambient air to cool or heat buildings, solar panels and more efficient lighting.
Aggregate produced at Bescot during the demolition of the original building was crushed and recycled rather than being sent to landfill. While excess materials and offcuts were donated to Walsall College.
And the salt barn at Strensham was constructed off-site which offered a large carbon saving over the traditional method of rebuilding the barn at the depot.
The team also recycled coal tar found on the Strensham site. Coal tar was previously used as a binder or sealant in UK road construction in lieu of Bitumen but it is deemed hazardous. Rather than pay to have it sent to specialist landfill, over 3,000 tonnes of coal tar were safely recycled which also reduced carbon.
Safety is also a priority for National Highways and the sites now segregate vehicle movements between operational and office staff to help keep people safe.
All of the work was carried out despite the depots having to remain operational 24/7 during the works with much of it taking place over the winter which is one of the busiest times for the NH operational teams eg winter maintenance activity.
Richard Fielding, Morgan Sindall’s Area Director in the Midlands, said:
“The work that the National Highways team carries out is absolutely pivotal to the functional operation of the country and so it’s been a great privilege to work alongside them to provide these state-of-the-art, sustainable depots.
“What stands out from this project is the alignment in values between ourselves and National Highways. We were given the impetus to utilise our Intelligent Solutions approach to really hone in on creating environmentally-friendly facilities and generate carbon savings. Similarly, we’re pleased to have used three-quarters of our spend locally, helping deliver social value within the community.”