Winvic Construction Ltd, the multidisciplinary construction firm that is delivering the civils and infrastructure works at SEGRO Logistics Park Northampton (SLPN), is working in partnership with the Smart Motorways Project (SMP) team including Principal Contractor, Costain Galliford Try (CGT), to ensure the two major schemes – which are taking place simultaneously and share boundaries – are undertaken efficiently and in the true spirit of collaboration.
This close private and public sector relationship has been built over the last four years due to Winvic and CGT undertaking similar collaborative liaison through the construction of SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway (SLPEMG) and SMP M1 J23a to 26. Best practice interfaces and innovative communications have now also resulted in the leading main contractor that specialises in the design and delivery of multi-sector construction and civil engineering projects donating 5,000 m3 of topsoil to SMP, which is the equivalent volume to two Olympic sized swimming pools. In the creation of the plateau for the 35-acre Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI), more soil excavation needed to be executed than was required to form the screening bunds around the site. Therefore, this topsoil would have otherwise been placed on adjacent land, but Winvic’s open and frequent collaboration means it will now be utilised by SMP to dress the new motorway verges and embankments from Junction 15 to 16 of the M1.
With circa 600 metres of shared boundary adjacent to the northbound off-slip and southbound on-slip at Junction 15 of the M1, detailed synchronisation of programmes, traffic management (TM) and anything else arising that could affect each other’s project is crucial. Weekly coordination meetings look forward two weeks at a time to ensure road closure and associated TM minimally impact road users. For example, one lane must remain open on the A45 at all times meaning Winvic is accommodating any SMP motorway slip closures, ensuring vehicles can be diverted through the junction. Furthermore, additional daily or nightly meetings are held where any last-minute programme adjustments can be addressed, again to reduce disruption to local road users and communities.
On occasions, Winvic needs to undertake work over the boundary line, from within the SMP area of responsibility. In this situation, not only are further detailed discussions required but also a ‘Transfer of Control of Premises’ document must be raised and approved, stipulating the area and time frame of works. Outside of this, both organisations must always preserve a visual, clear boundary between their areas, for example, with well-maintained barriers. Additionally, one Winvic working area adjoins the SMP compound and the two organisations share an exit point, meaning both on-site teams work considerately and safely.
Rob Cook, Winvic’s Director of Civils and Infrastructure said: “Winvic is proud of its ability to build and maintain strong relationships with third party organisations, whether that’s Highways England and its Smart Motorways Project Principal Contractor, utility companies, local authorities or community groups. Not only does our prioritisation of successful collaborations result in safer working practices and reduced disruption for people in surrounding communities, but tangible efficiencies, which can sometimes be found in unexpected places. With SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway – where we shared a 1.5-kilometre boundary with SMP and really set the standard for complex partnership working of this nature – we shared traffic management and combined night works and here in Northampton, through our frequent liaison we’ve found a mutually beneficial solution for 5,000m3 of excess soil. The SMP Principal Contractor, CGT, and Winvic site teams are once again working together to reduce disruption and do the right thing.”
Richard Bark, Winvic Project Manager at SLPN, added: “Having started in July 2020 with advanced planning, preparation and enabling works, when the construction works commenced in Jan 2021, we were ready for the challenge. Having completed successful liaison Highway’s England, Local Authorities, Statutory Authorities, and local stakeholders we had created a strong one team working approach. Having worked on a number of projects where collaboration has been crucial between all interested parties, there isn’t a challenge that can’t be overcome when everybody is focused on the end result and prioritises honest communication.”
Mark Saunders, CGT Senior Site Agent from Smart Motorway Project, added “Positive working relationships established on the SMP M1 Junction 23a to 26, along with some good lessons learned from that project, have resulted in a true collaboration between the SMP and SLPN schemes. Both principal contractors are successfully delivering their own projects whilst accommodating the needs of our neighbours. Good communication is key to this, along with the desire to assist in the delivery of each other’s scheme where possible. This is clearly demonstrated in the free issue of circa 5,000m3 topsoil from SLPN to the SMP scheme, a real win-win situation.”
Highways England’s programme manager, Lynne Stinson said: “We work collaboratively with partners to ensure that we can keep disruption to a minimum for motorists, businesses and residents in the area. A key part of this work is the detailed and careful planning of roadworks and any lane closures between the two parties to ensure that we can keep traffic flowing. We’re grateful for the collaborative approach to our scheme and look forward to continuing to work with Winvic.”