Forth Replacement Crossing M9 Junction 1a

Excellent

 

86.5%

Whole Project Award

Project Team
Client: Transport Scotland
Design: Ramboll UK
Construction: SRB Civil Engineering Ltd. (Roadbridge Sisk JV)

The Project

A major milestone in the FRC Project was achieved with the completion of the M9 Junction 1a upgrade works. The scheme became fully operational on 1st February 2013 when it was officially opened by Scottish Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP, six weeks ahead of schedule.

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The works to improve this vital link to and from the new Queensferry Crossing (currently under construction) began in July 2011 following the completion of a two-year procurement process. The design for M9 Junction 1A comprised a grade-separated junction arrangement, capable of facilitating all access between the M9 and the M9 Spur. Located on the site of the existing junction, the new arrangement made best use of existing infrastructure whilst minimising the amount of new land-take required. The scheme also involved the construction of a new bridge structure over the M9, modifications to existing structures and culverts, provision of 17 Intelligent Transport System (ITS) gantries and provision of a southbound bus lane.
Challenges faced

Traffic management was one of the major challenges for the team; whilst some queuing was inevitable in a project of this scale and complexity, in general, commuting traffic experienced minimal disruption. Since the Junction has been opened fully, there has been a significant drop in the levels of traffic queuing in peak hours on the M9 Spur southbound.

Timing of works had to be considered carefully to minimise disruption, including clear signage erection in advance of the works, full closures of the M9 Spur undertaken at night only and working around busy periods such as school holidays and public events. Night time and weekend works were programmed for elements of the construction that had potential for causing significant disturbance or nuisance including gantry erection, traffic management, pavement construction and white lining.

Other significant environmental challenges included the discovery of an invasive species, few flowered leek (Allium paradoxum), which involved careful control on site to avoid spreading. An exclusion zone was set at Lindsay’s Craigs Woodland to prevent unauthorised entry where few flowered leek were identified. On occasions when the ecological clerk of works (ECoW) visited the woodland, boots and outer clothing were routinely sprayed and inspected to prevent spreading.

Sustainable management principles formed an integral part of this project, which is demonstrated in the following key examples below.

Ecology and biodiversity

Opportunities for habitat creation were identified and at least a 1:1 replacement was achieved. This included the creation of an artificial otter holt, bat boxes erected throughout the woodland to be retained, incorporation of a mammal ledge into the widened Niddry Burn Culvert and a new dedicated mammal tunnel above the new Swine Burn culvert to minimise fragmentation of existing habitats and mammal commuter routes.

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The Swine Burn was transformed from a linear, engineered channel, subject to fly tipping, to an enhanced sinuous channel providing flood alleviation, geomorphology and landscaping benefits.

Waste and Material use

  • Opportunities to reduce, reuse or recycle construction materials on the project were employed wherever possible:
  • Through numerous design iterations, the scheme achieved a balanced cut and fill (saving of 135,000m3 of import earthworks compared to the original specimen design).
  • 16,412 tonnes of material planed from the existing pavement within the site was sent to the sub-contractor’s facility to be incorporated into future pavement mixes.
  • All general earthworks material was site-won and reused on site, such as use of clay liners in the SuDS ponds.
  • 100% of all oil waste, batteries, dry recyclable waste, timber and earthwork materials was either reused on site or sent for recycling.
  • 100% of inert waste material, 83% of all non-hazardous waste material, 156 tonnes of steel and 390m3 of concrete was diverted from landfill.

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Relations with local community and stakeholders

Good relations were established with local community groups through regular liaison and community initiatives. SRB provided assistance to a local organisation called “Friends of Pikes Pool” to rejuvenate an area of green space adjacent to the site. This included the donation of over 100 tonnes of aggregates and use of plant and machinery. Employment and training opportunities for young people were also offered.

A dedicated Community Liaison Officer was employed, which enabled local residents to have a dedicated point of contact for all queries in relation to the project. A project Freephone number was also available for queries from the general public. Throughout the project, 87% of all complaints were responded to within 24 hours.

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A number of working groups were established with stakeholders and statutory consultees for the whole project, including a Noise Liaison Group and Environmental Liaison Group, both of which were chaired by the Client and attended by SRB personnel.

Communications and information on the project were transparent, clear and readily available, which enabled the project to progress as seamlessly as possible.

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To what extent did the use of CEEQUAL influence your project?

Transport Scotland chose to use CEEQUAL on a trial basis for the Forth Replacement Crossing project as a tool for the comparison and evaluation of the sustainable appraisal process of the project. It was used in the Preparation Stage of the project and achieved an ‘Excellent’ (92.7%) for Whole Interim Client and Outline Design Award. The use of CEEQUAL was incorporated into the contract documents for all the major contracts of the project with a requirement on the Contractors to maintain this achievement.

CEEQUAL was used to provide a systematic and comprehensive approach to the detailed design and construction of the M9 Junction 1a scheme, tracking the site management activities and associated sustainability initiatives, within the overall sustainability objectives of the FRC project. CEEQUAL also considered environmental aspects not routinely covered by the EIA process such as energy and carbon assessment, which ensured a holistic approach to the project was undertaken and all aspects of sustainable development were duly considered.

The M9 Junction 1a scheme achieved a Whole Project Award score of 86.5% (Excellent), achieving a similar ‘Excellent’ score to the Interim Client & Outline Design Award for the Whole Project. This reflected the considerable and collaborative team effort between all parties involved.

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