Church Village Bypass

CEEQUAL Excellent (86.2%) – Whole Project Award
Version 4, Jun 2011 | Church Village, Pontypridd, Wales

Client: Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council
Design: Atkins and RPS
Construction: Costain

Project Summary

In 2006 Rhondda Cynon Taf Council granted planning permission for the construction of the £90m Church Village Bypass. Costain was appointed as the design and build contractor and the Welsh Assembly Government confirmed the funding for this Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) scheme in March 2008.

The project was procured under the New Engineering Contract, Option C.

  • Client – Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Clients Representative – Capita Glamorgan
  • Contractor – Costain
  • Contractors Designer – Atkins
  • Contractors Environmental Designer – RPS

Costain established an experienced integrated team and developed effective collaborative working arrangements to deliver the high quality bypass. Through early involvement of the supply chain, local residents and stakeholders, the project team achieved new standards of trust, openness and community engagement resulting in significant time, cost, quality and community benefits.

During the value engineering phase, the project team revised the original scheme and the proposals were unveiled in a public exhibition June 2008.

The new and innovative proposals were introduced to reduce impact on the landscape, disruption to local residents and ecology including protected species. Particular attention was paid to reducing the visual impact of the scheme through the use of bunding and extensive planting of some 28,000 trees and 90,000 shrubs. A substantial reduction in the number of structures and the sensitive selection of structural form provide a scheme visually more in keeping with the rural setting.

The bypass consisted of 7km of single / dual carriageway, two road bridges, four roundabouts and three community footbridges, community route, two cattle creeps and one subway.

The Church Village Bypass was opened on the 7th September 2010 by the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly and has reduced traffic using the former A473 by over 70 per cent.


Planned Benefits

  • Bypass the traffic congested villages of Llantwit Fardre, Church Village and Ton-teg
  • Provide an important free flowing link from the A4119/M4 at Llantrisant and Talbot Green to the A470 and county town of Pontypridd
  • Help to unlock the strategic and economic potential of the south of the county borough
  • To reduce travelling time for over 20,000 vehicles per day
  • Improve air quality with the elimination of long standing traffic queues along the A473

Value Engineering

During the VE design stage the project team eliminated the following from originally proposed scheme:

  • 7 road bridges
  • 2 accommodation bridges
  • 1 equestrian bridge
  • 1 pedestrian underpass
  • 4 substantial culverts
  • 500m of reinforced concrete retaining wall
  • 300m of reinforced earth retaining wall
  • 14 sttatutory utility diversion
  • 300,000 M3 surplus of earthwork was eliminated to achieve an earthworks balance avoiding offsite disposal.

These amended proposals provided a significant reduction in the carbon footprint and future maintenance cost and safety risk in a live highway environment. In addition, the extensive use of arch structures entirely eliminates road bridge bearing and expansion joint maintenance issues. The project team submitted a revised planning application after Value Engineering phase.

Carbon Footprint

At Church Village the project team recognised that the largest contribution to the schemes carbon footprint would arise from construction materials, the fuel consumption of plant and machinery and the potential disposal of waste to landfill. The management team aimed to reduce the environmental impact of the scheme from the start.

Strategies implemented, included:

  • Eliminate off-site disposal of 300,000m3 of excavated soil
  • Significantly reduce the structures required to be built on the scheme
  • Target of 60% of imported stone from recycled waste, which was achieved by the use of Blast Furnace Slag for all carriageway Capping and Sub-base and included as blacktop aggregate
  • Recycle all material associated with the construction work with less than 0.01% of site generated waste being diverted to landfill
  • Implement Wastage KPI’s to achieve the above
  • Commitment to measure our carbon footprint
  • Award 75% of sub-contractor and materials orders to local companies – achieved 90%
  • Employ 100% local staff.

In comparison to the original scheme, the value engineered scheme has reduced carbon emissions by 51% (22,447 tCO2), the equivalent of 1400 laps around the Equator in a medium sized car, in materials and bulk fuel alone.

Off-site Fabrication

Extensive off-site fabrication (arch structures and precast manholes) was adopted to ensure substantial reduction in on-site construction activities delivering beneficial safety risk reductions evidenced by the early completion of the scheme with over 1 million man hours worked with no reported accidents.

It also ensured that quality was significantly improved by pre-delivery quality verification and a corresponding reduction in on-site defect, safety risk and rework costs. The amended proposals provided a significant reduction in the carbon footprint and future maintenance cost.

The use of fully integral pre-cast reduced the construction time to install a manhole from 2 days to 1 hour with a significant reduction in safety risk by minimising in trench working time on site work activities.

Environmental Benefits

The site imported over 31,000 tonnes of recycled material from a local company adjacent to the site saving 63,000 miles worth of fuel and carbon emissions. The nearest alternative source would have been a 60 mile round trip.

70% of site generated waste that could not be re-used on the project, including canteen waste, paper, cardboard, timber, plastic and metal, was segregated and recycled. Site offices were equipped with energy saving facilities including efficient insulation, motion-sensing lighting and low energy equipment. A grey-water recycling facility was installed at the main site compound reducing water consumption by 25%.

The new bypass has received positive comments since opening providing substantial congestion relief to 40,000 residents with the new cycle route proving very popular providing a safe and pleasant route between communities through an attractive landscape

The planting of 28,000 new trees and 90,000 new shrubs will in a few short years provide extensive tree cover generating new habitat and enhancing the existing landscape and new vistas now accessible by the public from the scheme.


  • Contamination within old on-site tips were treated and retained on-site saving £1m
  • Difficult ground conditions involving substantial sections of the scheme passing through old tips.
Ty Garreg licensed landfill site 50,000m3 cutting required within this tip
Ystrad Barwig Tip 20,000m3 Pulverised fuel ash (PFA) removed and reused
Nant Celyn old back filled railway cutting 5000m3 PFA removed and reused
Ton-teg tip 50,000M3 PFA removed and reused along with the route & beneficial reuse of 300,000 buried tyres found onsite – a mixture of car and commercial tyres

Society Benefits – Use of materials and labour

The bypass was constructed with over 70% recycled aggregate sourced from local suppliers. During the value-engineering phase the project team investigated ways to reduce waste within the road design, successfully reducing 300,000 cubic metres of earthworks surplus (30,000 lorry-loads) to 50,000 cubic metres.

Remaining surplus was used to construct false cutting, noise bunds and general landscaping fill. Appropriate consents were obtained from the Environment Agency which enabled the use of site generated waste materials, including PFA, old vehicle tyres and non-hazardous landfill material.

Use of materials and labour

  • 95% recycled Reinforcing Steel
  • 50% recycled linear kerb drainage
  • 95% Blast Furnace slag content in Bituminous Surfacing Materials
  • 100% Blast Furnace slag content in Carriageway Capping & Sub base
  • Achieved 75% recycled content for all imported stone on the project
  • Achieved 75% recycled content for all primary steel products
  • 90% of contracts and materials orders being awarded to local companies
  • 75 economically inactive individuals employed and trained
  • 300,000 waste tyres from a disused tip on site were baled and re-used as lightweight retaining structures.


  • Construction of 2 new Great Crested Newt (GCN) Ponds and the translocation of 46 GCN into these ponds. Post construction surveys have shown a 20% increase in newt numbers illustrating the success of this mitigation measure
  • Construction of two badger crossings
  • Construction of 3 Dormice bridges to maintain connectivity along tree lines for these protected creatures in addition the previously derelict Ty Garreg tip site was reinstated, soiled and planted with 14000 trees and shrubs as future Dormice habitat
  • Translocation of over 500 reptiles and the construction of new reptile hibernacular
  • Otter passes on all new and reconstructed existing culverts within the works
  • Extensive reptile, Otter, and Badger fencing

Our safety record

  • RoSPA Gold awards for 2008/2009/2010
  • 1,000,000 Man-hours without a reportable accident
  • 200,000 man-hours reduced by using off site precast methods
  • Behavioural Safety Training for all front line supervisors.

Communication Relations

A full time Community Relations Manager was employed and developed a ‘Communication and Public Relations Strategy’ to ensure the public were kept informed of progress and potential disruption through a visitor centre, project website, newsletters and information notices.

During the construction phase we had communication with 40,000 residents and 400 local businesses. We had weekly slots with the local radio station and 50 positive press releases also helped communicate potential areas for disruption and significant project milestones. The project supported 60 local initiatives with the integrated team raising £100,000 for local and national charities.
The Considerate Constructors Scheme scored the project 38/40, the highest score achieved by a Costain project and within the top 2% of projects assessed across the UK receiving 3 Gold Awards.

  • The team addressed over 10,000 school children, supported 70 days of work experience, committed over 100 staff days and have supported 60 site visits.
  • The project helped to support over 60 local initiatives.

Best Practice

The Welsh Assembly identified the project as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ and used the scheme to launch the national Community Benefits Programme entitled ‘Delivering Maximum Benefits for the Welsh Pound’. At the outset of the project and in collaboration with the Client and the Welsh Assembly Government key community benefit targets were set that included a strong focus on local procurement and local employment which resulted in £46m being directed into the South Wales economy.

  • 90% of contracts and materials orders being awarded to local companies
  • 75 economically inactive individuals employed and trained
  • 100% of staff were employed locally

An independent study by the University of Wales confirmed the financial impact.

  • Church Village Bypass was selected as a ‘Demonstration Project’ by Constructing Excellence Wales.

The Church Village Bypass was designed and constructed using site won resources and recycled material wherever possible. Working closely with the Environment Agency, Constructing Excellence Wales, WRAP and the Wales Environment Trust.

New local employment

  • Created 75 entry level jobs, recruiting locally
  • Created 2 new business start up opportunities

Persistent and prolific offenders

  • Created 3 Entry Level jobs for prolific offenders providing a minimum training standard of NVQ Level 2

Local companies

  • Achieved 90% of all subcontracts awarded to local companies in South Wales
  • Achieved 90% of all material orders to local companies.