Work on one of Worcestershire’s largest infrastructure projects – the Southern Link Road Phase 4 in Worcester – is back in full swing following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
138 personnel have been back on site for 4 weeks and have already completed a number of milestones.
These include the installation of 24 No Concrete W Beams at Powick Viaduct which will allow the bridge deck to be constructed.
This mammoth scheme will see the dualling of the A4440 Southern Link Road between the M5 and Powick. The work includes widening the Carrington Bridge over the River Severn and similarly extending the Powick Viaduct to four lanes from the current two lanes.
The County Council’s contractor on that scheme, Griffiths, have worked tirelessly to put a myriad of new procedures and checks in place to ensure work was able to resume on release of Government guidance.
Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “Getting works back up and running on our key priority schemes is a great indication that the economy is starting to move towards the recovery phase.
“I’m delighted with the additional measures Griffiths, and our other contractors, have put into place at all our sites and we continue to work closely with them to ensure all of our people and residents are kept safe during this continued time of uncertainly.
“The many measures implemented give an insight into the amount of work and dedication many of our businesses across the county have embedded to support people coming back to work and school. It’s a great achievement and our businesses and schools should be very proud."
Some of the additional measures that Griffiths have put into place include travel guidance to and from sites for staff, limiting the numbers of workers in a vehicle, additional hand washing facilities (even down to hot hand wash stations on the side of large plant machinery), vastly increased cleaning regimes especially in break areas, increased toilet facilities to allow for segregation.
They have also been using drone footage to understand who is on site and where, and to send images to remote workers on progress.
Covid 19 Marshals are in place on site to ensure that everyone entering is aware of the additional measures and to ensure everyone sticks to them rigidly.
Richard Bruten, Major Project Director for Griffiths, said: ‘‘Our people have worked tirelessly to ensure that work can continue on our sites in the safest way possible.
“We already had a great track record with site safety before the COVID pandemic began some months ago with 162,715 hours on the SLR4 site without a health and safety incident.
“It’s been inspiring to see our people taking ownership of these new ways of working. We’ve had to be innovative in our thinking in order to ensure we keep our staff safe and can carry on moving forward with our schemes. The best way to prevent and slow down the transmission is to be well informed about the disease and how its spreads and along with these strict control measures being in place, we will ensure everyone comes to work safe and goes home safe.”
Most projects across the County had to be put on hold following the Government’s announcement of a national lockdown in late March.
Since then, the County Council has worked closely with its contractors to ensure that all sites across the County have been able to open and operate safely.