A5758 Broom’s Cross Road (Thornton to Switch Island Link)

A5758 Broom’s Cross Road (Thornton to Switch Island Link)

CEEQUAL Excellent (85.1%) – Whole Project Award
Version 4, October 2017 | Merseyside, England, UK

Winner – CEEQUAL Outstanding Achievement Awards 2019 – Ecology & Biodiversity

Client: Sefton Council
Designer: Jacobs
Contractor: Balfour Beatty

Assessor: Phil Shaw (Jacobs)

Project summary

The A5758 Broom’s Cross Road is located on the northern edge of the Merseyside conurbation, to the east of the town of Crosby. The road is a new 2.8 mile (4.5km) long single carriageway road linking the A565 in Thornton with the M57/M58/A59/A5036 Switch Island junction near Aintree. The scheme opened to traffic in August 2015.

The new road provides a local bypass of Thornton and Netherton to reduce congestion and provide a faster, more direct link to the motorway network. The residential areas of Thornton, Netherton and the Sefton villages will benefit from an improvement in local environmental quality and better and safer conditions for walking, cycling and public transport along the existing highway network.

“It is a great honour to receive a CEEQUAL Excellent award for a scheme that has made the whole of Sefton more accessible. The road took a long time and a lot of hard work to develop and construct and the achievement of the CEEQUAL award goes to show how the time was well spent in planning and building a wonderful link road.”

Councillor John Fairclough, Sefton Council Cabinet Member

The scheme was developed by Sefton Council and jointly funded by the Council and the Department for Transport. Balfour Beatty was appointed by the Council to construct the scheme, supported by designer Jacobs, who undertook the environmental impact assessment for the scheme.

Key achievements

  • 99.9% of demolition and deconstruction waste was re-used or recycled.
  • 45% of materials were reused or recycled (by volume, excluding bulk fill and sub base).
  • Over 60% of bulk fill and sub base was site-won.
  • Local companies benefited from £2.4m of business.
  • 71 Sefton residents were employed on the site at some point during the works.
  • 39,000 new trees and shrubs and 2.4km of hedges were planted.


How did CEEQUAL influence the project?

“CEEQUAL provided a way of keeping environmental objectives high on the agenda and ensured that appropriate records and evidence was retained. Using CEEQUAL helped the project team to think about different options for tackling specific issues, rather than just fall back on standard, accepted methods.

CEEQUAL has represented value for money because it has resulted in a better quality scheme with greater attention paid to local environmental issues and improved awareness of wider issues such as resource usage.”

Challenges and achievements

Although the scheme did not have any major environmental impacts associated with it, a wide range of environmental mitigation measures were implemented throughout the design, development and construction of the scheme.

During the design phase, considerable effort was taken to get the alignment of the link road right so that it would minimise potential impacts on residential properties and avoid features of interest. This took the road slightly further into the agricultural green belt, requiring extensive landscaping proposals incorporated into the detailed Environmental Masterplan.

During construction, difficult ground conditions were encountered due to soft ground and a varied layering of sand and clay lenses. Different approaches were adopted in different locations to stabilise the ground, maximising the use of site won material and avoiding the use of imported fill material where possible.

Achieving the ‘Excellent’ status from CEEQUAL recognises the hard work by all members of the team through various stages in the scheme development and ensured the project had the environment and sustainability as a core objective throughout.

Paul Weaver, Managing Director Balfour Beatty

Project management

Sefton Council took an active and leading role in the project throughout the development and construction of the project. The major scheme business case was prepared in-house by the Council and was successful in securing the funding commitment from central Government. From the outset, the Council recognised the importance of the environmental aspects of the project. The scheme was going to be built on agricultural land in the green belt, so the design had to integrate the scheme into the existing landscape and incorporate appropriate and effective environmental mitigation measures. Part of the justification for the scheme was to deliver environmental improvements for local communities, in terms of traffic, noise and air quality, but that should not be achieved at great cost to the local landscape and wildlife.

The main contractor, Balfour Beatty, was appointed through an Early Contractor Involvement contract, so that they had input to the design process as well as leading the construction phase. The Council’s commitment to environmental sustainability and to delivering a high quality scheme was emphasised throughout the design and planning process, led by designer Jacobs. A full environmental assessment was carried out and submitted with the planning application for the scheme, together with a detailed environmental masterplan.

Once construction started, the contractor took responsibility for environmental management of the scheme, in accordance with the construction environmental management plan. Environmental issues were reported on a regular basis through the monthly progress meetings and project manager’s reports.

People and communities

There had been an aspiration to provide a local bypass in the Thornton and Netherton area for more than 30 years, so there was significant local interest in and support for the Broom’s Cross Road scheme. It was very important to keep local communities informed throughout the scheme development and construction and to retain their support for the project.

A major public consultation was carried out in advance of the submission of the planning application, including a series of local exhibitions. The ‘fly through’ video of the proposals stimulated a lot of interest. Regular updates on the progress of the scheme design were posted on the Council’s dedicated webpage throughout the design stage.

At the start of construction, a full ‘wrap-around’ feature was published in the local newspaper to inform local communities of the proposals and provide information about different features of the scheme and what would be happening during construction. The contractor provided a public liaison officer, who prepared monthly updates that were sent out to local residents and community groups. Links were established with local schools and a series of events and activities were held on the site, including litter picks, educational visits, sponsored walk and even a road traffic accident training event for the local fire service.

The Council also made it clear from the outset that they wished to see opportunities given to local people and businesses from the project. During the construction, six local companies benefited from £2.4m of business and 71 Sefton residents were employed on the site at some point during the works.

The Historic Environment

There was only a limited number of historical features in the vicinity of the scheme, but considerable attention was paid to ensuring that the impacts on the historic environment were kept to a minimum.

The road is named after Broom’s Cross – the site of a medieval wayside cross near Thornton – which was not directly affected by the works but is close to the line of the road. The cross provided a stopping place for funeral processions on their way to St Helen’s Church in Sefton village. Although only the base of the original cross remains, it is a Scheduled Monument.

As part of the planning process, a full historic environment assessment was carried out, including some archaeological trial trenching in advance of construction. No features of significant interest were identified.

The design and landscaping of the scheme took account of the proximity of listed buildings and a conservation area, with noise bunds and screening planting provided to minimise the impact on the setting of those features. Sections of a historic brick wall along Brickwall Lane were re-built using original bricks and a fingerpost sign of historic interest was relocated.

Ecology and Biodiversity

The route of Broom’s Cross Road did not cross or impinge on any designated nature conservation sites, but it did cross countryside and agricultural land, so the consideration of ecology and biodiversity was a priority in the design of the scheme. Extensive surveys and assessments were undertaken in advance of the scheme in support of the planning application, including an appropriate assessment of the potential impacts on the population of wintering pink footed geese that visited the area to feed.

The surveys identified the presence of protected species in the vicinity of the road alignment, including bats, barn owl, red squirrel and the potential for great crested newt and water vole. The Environmental Masterplan for the scheme included numerous measures to protect and enhance existing habitats and wildlife as well as extensive areas of landscape planting, amounting to 39,000 new trees and shrubs and 2.4km of hedge.

Specimen tree planting was introduced at two key locations to provide bat ‘hop-over’ facilities and reduce the risk of bats flying at low level across the road. Barn owl nesting boxes were provided to the local barn owl group to be located at some distance from the road to reduce the risk of barn owl casualties on the road and encourage the growth of the barn owl population. A new wildlife habitat area was created incorporating an existing pond, four new ponds, wetland planting and a mix of tree and scrub planting to provide a variety of habitats. The drainage attenuation ponds were designed to have large areas of shallow water and incorporate reedbeds to provide wetland habitat for amphibians and birds.

The range of ecological mitigation provided for the scheme is extensive and was used as the basis for an educational field visit for ecologists from the NW group of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).

The Water Environment

Broom’s Cross Road crosses mainly low lying agricultural land in a largely flat landscape, so providing suitable and adequate drainage and protecting the existing watercourses was also a key element of the scheme. The watercourses in the vicinity of the scheme were mainly small and relatively slow flowing, so a lot of attention was given to the design of the highway drainage system to meet the requirements of the Environment Agency and ensure that potential impacts on existing watercourses were minimised.

A series of four large drainage attenuation ponds were constructed, incorporating silt interceptors and a hydrobrake system to control the rate of flow from the ponds. More than 21km of drainage pipes were installed to capture the run off from the road and transfer it to the new ponds.

An extensive land drainage system was also installed along sections of the route to ensure that the new road did not adversely affect the drainage of the surrounding fields.

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