M6 Surfacing works
M6 J10 - M54 J2
Highways agency via Kier Group plc
Tarmacs leading road planning contractor National Road Planing (NRP), in partnership with Kier and Highways England, were assigned to project works in between M6 Junction 10 and M54 Junction 2. The task was to plane the surface on the westbound section of this motorway.
The team utilised the latest technology and deployed a specialist planning machine which is one of only eight machines in Europe, and the only machine in the UK. The unique machine, which has the capability to remove around 600 tonnes of asphalt per hour – the equivalent of 60 trucks – and plane one full lane width up to 3.8m wide in a single pass, improves the surfacing process and ultimately the ride-ability of the newly laid asphalt surface for the road user.
The new planer delivered a 30 per cent productivity increase per shift. This increased efficiency reduces the number of passes required, which further removes the potential for incidents involving reversing plant and vehicles, and continues to minimise the potential for incidents altogether by lessening time spent on the network.
With the need to operate in very tight working windows, efficiency was key along with ensuring health and safety on site. The high performance of the machine means Tarmac has the capacity to plane the existing surface quicker, which ensures that the teams can start laying new asphalt sooner, both reducing disruption for road users and minimising overall time spent working on the highways for all involved with the project, thus decreasing the potential for safety risks.
Results and benefits
TIn addition to its efficiency benefits the new planer supports NRP and Tarmac’s commitment to safety and team welfare.
With no reversing and fewer passes during the shift, there is a reduction in the potential interactions between people and moving plant. Conventional planing requires two passes to complete a lane, which over a normal night shift can mean reversing over a kilometre. The reduced pass rate also means each employee is walking 50 per cent less distance per night, helping with fatigue prevention and improving general wellbeing on site.
The planer is also fitted with NRP’s innovative high-intensity lights which help teams visualise the ‘5+2 protection zone’ - a five-metre exclusion area in the direction of travel and a two-metre exclusion zone to the side of all plant.
Jamie Town, General Manager, National Road Planing
“The high performance of this machine means that we have the capacity to plane the existing surface quicker, which ensures that our Contracting teams can start laying new asphalt sooner to ultimately reduce disruption for road users and drive efficiency for customers."
“With a need to operate in very tight working windows, we are working in collaboration with Kier and Highways England to drive efficiency on the project. This requires all disciplines to work together, identify where they can save time and embrace lean best practice.”
As well as the health and safety benefits from improved efficiency, the new planer deployed on the project to plane the surface on the westbound section of the motorway between M6 Junction 10 and M54 Junction 2, provides direct improvement to site welfare.