Junction 9 improvements for the M27
Hampshire City Council, Highways England
Wrekin conducted a successful consultation process to secure the exciting opportunity to supply Unite manhole covers and ironwork installation systems to the county’s most significant infrastructure project in recent history. Hampshire County Council and Highways England have committed to funding a £23m infrastructure project, which will improve the M27 and benefit motorists for years to come.
It is no secret that peak-time traffic on the M27 – a critical strategic corridor in south Hampshire – creates queues and congestion at Junction 9, which often extends to the motorway. However, the plan includes widening the carriageway as a means to improve traffic flow and reduce journey times in the area, with work due to complete in summer 2022.
Our technical team worked in partnership with contractor SKANSKA and sub-contractor MJ Church to specify the correct ironwork for the project, offering technical advice and adapting the specification of the product to ensure it will provide the optimum solution.
Initially, during the tender stage, we were contacted to provide costings for our TriStar D400 access cover range. However, once the tender had been won and we delved further into the contractor’s requirements, we quickly realised that this range was not the most suitable for the scheme.
Rather than just supply what was put on paper, we committed to a site visit and worked closely with MJ Church to provide the best solution for the project, road type and road use. Due to the intensity of traffic along the junction, it was demonstrated that our heavy duty Unite ironwork covers would be the best solution.
Our Unite manhole covers and ironwork installation system incorporating UniPak bedding mortar was chosen – which, when used together, come with a ten-year guarantee – to the project, helping to minimise the need for maintenance and replacement. This will in turn provide security and peace of mind for Hampshire County Council.
Our solutions are developed specifically to solve the everyday headaches of our customers. This means that our contributions to projects, both small and large, provide our customers with the perfect remedy to their problem.
Unite is engineered for a long life and assured performance. It has been in service on highways across the UK for more than 15 years, with zero reported premature failures on 500,000 installations. This means the Unite range provides whole life cost savings due to its robustness, as the need to replace broken ironwork is removed.
Unite exceeds BS EN 124-2:2015 and CD 534 (which replaces HA104/09) requirements to give the longest life, and therefore lowest life cost, of any D400 access cover on the market.
Like many authorities, the council invests heavily in maintaining our highway network. Over recent years, we’ve certainly seen an increase in the failure of manhole covers. Often, outdated specifications can lead to incorrect estimates and spend on products, which can cost the budget holder more in the long run through replacements.
Interesting research by Water Research Centre and the University of Nottingham observes that 89% of ironwork failures suffer foundation issues and in 44% of cases, the foundation problems are the sole cause of the malfunction.
Unite has patented features that minimise the bedding pressure, which allows local authorities to simply fit and forget – saving them a lot of time and money over the years by not having to dig up the roads for repairs and replacements due to failing ironwork.
We were dedicated to finding the right solution and supporting the legacy of the project, particularly as it is such a vital scheme to the region and local authority – as well as reducing congestion, the project will unlock economic development.