IHE (Institute Highways Engineers) Mercia Awards 2016

Amey Staffordshire celebrated scooping two awards at the IHE (Institute Highways Engineers) Mercia Awards 2016, held in April 2016.

The Small Project of the Year Award was given to The Upper Gungate Corridor project and Lichfield Park won the Judges Merit Award for Innovation.

The Upper Gungate Corridor project represents a significant achievement for the Staffordshire contract. The £350k improvement scheme was designed to reduce congestion at a busy signal controlled junction, whilst preserving and enhancing the urban environment.

The aims of the scheme were to provide local economic benefits by improving highway capacity and reducing delays whilst providing a safer and more pleasant pedestrian experience.

The scheme was designed in close collaboration with Staffordshire County Council (SCC) and Tamworth Borough Council (TBC) and included the widening of a part of Lichfield Street enabling better traffic flow and the provision of improved pedestrian facilities by re-routing a footway between and behind existing trees.

Highway capacity
The finished scheme has dramatically reduced delays (and thereby congestion) at this pinch-point. The traffic signals cycle times have been greatly reduced (for example, for the weekday pm peak cycle time has been reduced from 121 seconds to 80 seconds). Queue lengths at the signals have been halved and practical reserve capacity has been improved by 30%.

Pedestrian experience and safety
The lower cycle time means that pedestrians do not have to wait as long to cross the roads and there is a reduced likelihood of pedestrians attempting to cross at unsafe times and places. Usable footway width has also been improved and buses no longer over-run the footway during turning manoeuvres.

The scheme has retained as much as possible of the green open space close to the junction whilst making beneficial changes to other aspects of the urban environment. One year on the remaining trees are thriving.

Lichfield Park won the Judges Merit Award for Innovation, the third award win for the project. The first was at the Institute of Structural Engineer awards, the second at the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation awards.

The project involved the realignment of 250m of carriageway and replacement of a bridge over the West Coast Main Line (WCML) with a reinforced concrete (RC) single-span bridge with increased capacity. The purpose of the scheme was to provide infrastructure to facilitate development of a new 30-acre business park which had been on hold for 15 years due to sub-standard bridge capacity and highway. The bridge provides the only access to the site which is enclosed by the elevated A38, WCML and Cross Country rail line.

The old bridge was demolished during a critical track possession over Christmas 2014.

A high pressure strategic 450mm diameter water main owned by South Staffordshire Water ran across the footprint of the bridge. Diversion was, however, avoided by re-designing the scheme in terms of bridge width and angle of skew plus the length and formation of retaining walls. Crane mats and pads were also sited to take account of the route of the water main. The project was delivered on time and below target cost.

Interim Staffordshire Design Hub Director, Richard Harris said “both schemes are outstanding examples of the excellent work we are doing in Staffordshire. Gungate represents a significant milestone on the contract as it is the first end to end project, designed and delivered by Amey to be recognised. Lichfield Park was the first economic growth project to be started in the Country, challenging all involved, with tight timescales and a very difficult site, bounded by the West Coast Mainline and A38 Trunk Road”.