Earth excavated for bypass equivalent to 2,000double decker buses

Date: Saturday 16th December 2006

TEMPLE Sowerby’s £39.6 million bypass is still on course for completion in the spring of 2008, despite contractors having had to face one of the wettest Novembers on record.

Graham Dakin, project leader for the highways agency, said the weather was an issue, but stressed that they had got on well with the big construction jobs over the summer and no major hold-ups were being envisaged.

Last month, despite the rain, a further milestone was reached with thecompletion of the structural steel works on the main bridge across the River Eden.

Once a decking system has been put in place along the bridge, in conjunction with the steel beams tosupport the weight of aconcrete slab, vehicular access across the river will be achievable. It is hoped that site traffic will be able to run across the bridge by April, next year.

CONTINGENCY

John Harmon, project director for Skanska, said the program of works included a wintercontingency to allow for bad weather, without adversely affecting the ultimate finishing date. Progress is, however, slower when the weather is bad.

Essential connection work at either end of the three-mile scheme, which ties the new dualcarriageway in with the existing A66, will continue throughout the winter months.

“We are currentlyworking on the eastern tie in and will persevere no matter what,” said Mr. Harmon, who added that he was pleased that they had got all the earth works done they had planned to do before the weatherdeteriorated.

To date they haveexcavated 300,000 cubic metres of earth the equivalent to 2,000 double decker buses and only have 10,000 cubic metres of earthwork cutting left to complete.

Tarmac surfacing has also begun in earnest, and preliminary layers overtarmac now cover about 10 per cent. of the route. However, there is still a long way to go a total of 75,000 tonnes of tarmacsurfacing is required of which just 6,000 tonnes has been laid.

Since work commenced in March the project has accounted for 200,000 man hours and there has not been one reportableaccident. Every care is also being taken to avoid adverse environmental harm during construction and measures are being put in place to ensure the scheme blends in with the natural environment.

For safety reasons,temporary traffic lights are being employed in the Temple Sowerby area at off-peak times, but attempts are made to avoid operating them on Mondays and Fridays when thetraffic flow is the heaviest. Slight delays of between five and 10 minutes can be expected while the traffic lights are in operation.

The new road, which is estimated to shave more than two minutes offaverage journey times, runs from a new junction with Cliburn Road at the west of the village through to a new junction at the eastern end tying in with Morland Road.