Major earthworks commence

Preparations are now in place for Costain to commence the major earthworks needed to build the Heysham to M6 Link Road.

The process of earthworks involves cutting into the existing ground profile and constructing embankments capable of carrying an elevated highway. Costain must move more than 1.7 million cubic metres of earth to construct the 4.8km road – sufficient material to fill Wembley stadium one-and-a-half times over.

Costain Project Manager, Andrew Langley said “We’ve made good progress so far and have moved about a tenth of the material. We’ve spent a lot of time preparing for the bulk earth movement to begin.” 

With the installation of two temporary bridges over the A6 and Lancaster Canal almost complete, articulated dumptrucks known as Moxy’s will carry up to 40 tonnes of material with each load, five times as much material as a builder’s skip.

The two temporary bridges will form part of the “haul” road created along the line of the new road. By creating a temporary and suitable track the Moxy’s will be able to maximise the longer and hopefully drier hours over the summer months in order to progress the works.

“The temporary bridges will help us minimise the interface between our construction traffic and local traffic, unfortunately this hasn’t been possible in all locations where the new link road crosses existing roads” Andrew Langley added.

The haul road also crosses Kellet Lane. In order to keep the road open, traffic light controls need to be deployed to aid plant crossings. Plant crossings were suspended a few months back as a result of dangerous drivers jumping the red light and endangering both themselves and the roadworkers.

The crossing has since been improved, and a video has been produced by Costain in partnership with their earthworks contractor Walters UK showing how easily a car can be crashed when it gets in the way of a Moxy, even at slow speed.

Following completion of the temporary bridges and the recommencement of plant crossings on Kellet Lane, Costain has gained permission to work extended hours over the summer months.

From Monday 30 June to the 22 September 2014 the earthworks activity will run Monday to Friday 7am to 9pm, Saturday 7am to 6pm and no work on a Sunday. These hours will shorten according to available daylight.

The areas of activity will be from the motorway sliproads, east and west of the M6 junction 34 to Powder House Lane west of the Folly Rail Bridge.