4th Generation Term Contract for the Management and Maintenance of the Scottish Trunk Road Network – North West Unit

Kessock Bridge
Kessock Bridge

CEEQUAL Term Contract – Whole Team Award

2015/16: 75.3%
Version 5, October 2017 | Scotland, UK

Client: Transport Scotland
Contractor: BEAR Scotland

Assessment Team: Alan MacDonald – BEAR Scotland

Contract summary

The trunk road network connecting Scotland’s cities, towns, airports and ports is overseen by Transport Scotland. In 2013, BEAR Scotland was appointed as the Operating Company responsible for managing and maintaining the trunk road network in the North West Unit. With a total length of 1,422 km the North West Unit extends from Scrabster on the north coast, to Campbeltown in the south. This is a distance of over 300 miles.

Transport Scotland as an Executive Agency help the Scottish Government meet the objectives they set for a more sustainable future. This includes encouraging the Trunk Road Operating companies to make sure they work as closely as possible with the communities they serve, maximising community benefits, and encouraging innovation. This environment is fostered through the requirements set out in the 4th generation contract but also and perhaps more importantly through active partnership between the wider team, client and contractor. Through this close working relationship, BEAR Scotland and Transport Scotland are able to deliver the service that the communities of the north of Scotland expect. This partnership helps to deliver better value for money and supports the trunk road networks ability to adapt to future challenges.

North West Unit Map

This 4th Generation term contract has been built on good practice across the industry and has evolved and been refined during the previous generations of the contract. Currently in the 4th generation Operating Companies were encouraged to undertake a CEEQUAL Term Contract – Assessment and in 2016 BEAR Scotland committed to commence the CEEQUAL process, pursuing a Whole Team Award in conjunction with Transport Scotland.

Services being provided by BEAR Scotland under the term contract include road and bridge maintenance, minor improvements, incident management and support, lighting the network and minimising the risk of landslides.

On completion of the scoping out process the following work types were considered in detail during the CEEQUAL assessment in the North West Unit:

• Roads Planned Maintenance (maintaining the structural integrity)¹
• Bridge Construction and Maintenance ²
• Winter Service Operations¹
• Contract Facilities¹

  1. The Assessment Manual for Term Contracts: Maintenance
  2. The Assessment Manual for Term Contracts: Construction of Small or Repetitive Works

This 4th Generation Contract developed by Transport Scotland supports the principles of the Scottish Government’s and Transport Scotland’s requirements for sustainable development with Schedule 5 – Management System, Offices and Depots, Sustainability, containing Part 8, Scottish Minister’s requirements towards Environmental Sustainability and Waste.

Kessock Bridge

Schedule 5 Part 8 and the 4G procurement strategy and project execution plan identified from the outset that the sustainable road maintenance, carbon emission reduction and environmental protection were the key aims of the 4G contracts based on the Scottish Governments targets. BEAR Scotland complies with this and are subjected to regular audits to check compliance. In addition to this the 4G North West Trunk Road Network is subject to a number of environmental management system audits from the Performance Audit Group who are employed by Transport Scotland as well as LRQA, an external certification body. A good level of performance was achieved in all North West audits with continuous improvement being demonstrated in the audit reports and BEAR Scotland maintaining certification to the ISO 14001 standard.

The North West Contract scored well on every work type included in the CEEQUAL assessment, and specifically on the Contract Management, People and Communities, Historic Environment and Ecology and Biodiversity.

Contract facilities – energy efficiency

In 2015 BEAR Scotland submitted its ESOS notification to the Environment Agency in advance of the December 2015 deadline. The process involved a significant amount of work and the findings were presented to the senior management team for consideration. A total of 67 energy saving opportunities were identified as a result of the process with 45 identified for properties and 22 energy saving opportunities identified for plant/fleet.

Lighting improvements implemented during the CEEQUAL initial verification assessment period have produced a total saving of approximately 34507 kWh in annual energy consumption, translating to an approximate financial saving of £5176 based on the energy tariff paid during the reporting period and a carbon saving of 15949 KG (15.94 tonnes) of CO2e.

The Senior Management team is currently reviewing the energy saving opportunities identified during the ESOS compliance process and will create an action plan to determine what other Perth Depot Salt Barn Lighting Upgrades measures will be progressed. LED lighting options will always be considered for all future lighting replacements across the business.

During the initial verification assessment period two electric vehicle recharging points were installed at the Perth Head Office. The charge points are available for all BEAR Scotland and client employees to use and the installation supports BEAR Scotland’s aim of promoting the use of sustainable transport on the Trunk Road network.

People and communities

BEAR Scotland actively encourages positive relationships with local communities within the network and particularly those affected by works undertaken in their vicinity.

A830 Garbh Bridge

A £10,000,000 bridge improvement programme was assigned to BEAR Scotland to replace seven bridges along one of the most picturesque and touristic routes of Scotland, the A830. During the first CEEQUAL verification period (2015 – 2016), Garbh, Utha and Ranochan Bridges replacement were completed and numerous evidences were used for the CEEQUAL assessment. Extensive consultation with stakeholders were undertaken, covering Community Council, Councillors,  Ps, MSPs, Police, Fire Brigades, Ambulances, Local Communities. A variety of media was used to reach all demographic groups, via newspapers releases, social media, letter drop and emails. By involving all the interested parties, BEAR Scotland ensured that disruption during construction was kept to a minimum and that the bridges are considered part of the communities.

Historic environment

North West Unit covers 2,418 structures within its extents, with some of them classified as features of cultural heritage value.

Refurbishment on the A9 Mound Sluices Bridge was required due to flooding issues. The Environmental team undertook an assessment (as per usual business) and identified that the Bridge is a Category A Listed Building.

Parts of the structure were needed to be replaced, so Historic Environment Scotland was contacted. The Agency required BEAR Scotland to replace these features with a ‘like for like’ basis.

BEAR Scotland appointed AJ Engineering to replace the castings and wheels for exact copies. The subcontractor removed one of the casting and ordered Specialised Castings Limited to make the new components, which were then painted and installed.

BEAR maintains its commitment to support specific heritage conservation skills.

Ecology and nature conservation

The North West network is located within the two Scotland’s National Parks boundaries and thousands of European and National Designated Sites, which aimed to protect unique habitats and species.

As a business, BEAR Scotland has the responsibility to comply with relevant environmental legislation. One emblematic European protected species is the Eurasian otter. They are legally protected in Scotland by the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended). An average of 86% of recorded otter deaths in Scotland are road casualties (DMRB Volume 10 Section 1). If the water levels within culverts are high, otters are more likely to avoid swimming and cross the carriageway.

A87 Strollamus Mammal Ledge

BEAR Scotland’s Environmental team always advocates to implement enhancements that will support protected species conservation. Road casualties can be avoided by providing a A87 420 Strollamus Mammal Ledge pass to walk under the road during spate levels. As an example, scour works were required 4 for the A87 420 Strollamus Bridge. During the ecological site appraisal, several signs of otter activity were noted in the bridge vicinity. In conjunction with the otter fatalities recorded in the area, it was evident that the otters were crossing the carriageway.

An Otter Licence was obtained from Scottish Natural Heritage to allow the disturbance of the noted resting up sites, and a mammal ledge was installed along the downlink abutment to reduce the risk of otter road fatalities.

Winter service – innovation

Winter Service is a core part of the business at BEAR Scotland. In preparation for 2015-2016 Winter period, BEAR Scotland stocked 56,600 tonnes of salt to treat the North West and North East networks.

Salt currently used by BEAR Scotland is mined in the north of England and in Northern Ireland and transported by ship to the various ports around the North West Unit. It is a non-renewable resource and can adversely affect the surrounding environment.

A9 Brine Trials

Alternatives to reduce the amount of salt spread on the trunk roads have been researched with Transport Research Laboratory on behalf of Transport Scotland and the Highways Agency. In 2015 two trials to assess the longevity of brine and pre-wetted salt were undertaken, one in the A1 at East Linton and one in the A9 at Aviemore. BEAR Scotland was responsible for undertaking the trial on the A9.

Brine treatment offers multiple benefits including reduction of salt consumption, reduction of residual salt on the carriageways and uniform treatment.

Physical resources – use and management

The Transport Scotland’s annual process for roads structural maintenance includes an environmental / sustainability assessment scoring matrix which is used in the Roads Structural Maintenance value for money programming process. This ensures that key environmental and social criteria are considered during this process and factored in to the programming of schemes each year. Value Management Scoring including the Environmental Sustainability element are detailed in the Statement of Intent prepared for each scheme.

As part of a structural maintenance scheme on the A9 at Badacreamh south of Inverness a reduced treatment strategy was selected rather than full depth reconstruction. This reduced costs which allowed more work to be undertaken.

A9 Badacreamh Crack and Seat

The chosen treatment method involves the use of Crack and Seat. Crack and Seat is a technique where an existing concrete slab is cracked at controlled centres to create discrete mini slabs. These slabs are then rolled with a 10 or 20 tonne pneumatic tyred roller to seat them into the existing granular base. This creates a sound foundation for a flexible overlay preventing reflective cracking of the new surface.

By Cracking & Seating the existing concrete bound mixture the requirement to remove the full depth of the pavement was avoided, thereby reducing the quantity of virgin material used in the operation. This also has the additional benefit of reducing transport associated emissions with less material being transported to site.

Future improvements opportunities

Following the initial verification, the main future improvement opportunity which will be implemented is the development of a system to ensure that on-site environmental mitigation is successfully implemented and recorded. The Environmental Team have produced a checklist which can be used by construction teams to ensure that the site-specific mitigation measures outlined in the Site Environmental Management Plan are established and are effective for the duration of the works. The developed procedure will ensure clarity with regards to the process, and the mechanism will be fully integrated into the business management system.

The majority of BEAR Scotland’s work is to maintain the existing Trunk Road Network. As a result of undertaking the CEEQUAL Initial Verification process the intention is to improve the design process to allow the consideration and implementation of environmental enhancements within projects. Such improvements could involve enriching local habitats or improving the landscape within high amenity-value areas. This would involve working with Transport Scotland, including the assessment of the local environment and research of potential enhancements by the Environmental Team, agreement of feasibility with designers once site-specific parameters have been identified and incorporation into the final designs.

As well as reducing the impact on the environment, business travel plans provide many benefits which include cost-savings, solving parking issues and improving staff health and well-being. To remain effective, the existing business travel plan will be updated to reflect current attitudes and travel alternatives. This will involve undertaking a commuter staff travel survey, creating achievable targets and forming an action plan for these to be achieved. An updated business travel plan aims to promote informed travel choices, reduce dependence on cars and make efficient use of the transport network.

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