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Project of the Year (over £50m): Winner

Winner: Skanska Civil Engineering – M1 J19 improvement

The mark of success for this year’s Project of the Year (over £50m) is the fact that improvements under the £191m scheme have meant reduced journey times for 150,000 daily road users.

This three-year project, which started in late 2013, aimed to ease congestion at junction 19 of the M1 – a notorious traffic trouble-spot.

The scheme, which came in on budget and three months ahead of schedule, involved creating a three-level junction and a direct dual carriageway link between the M6 and A14 near Catthorpe, Leicestershire.

As part of the initiative, Skanska Civil Engineering built six new bridges using 25,000 cu m of concrete and 4,400 tonnes of structural steel. The team demolished two old bridges, resulting in significantly easier conditions for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Part of the challenge was keeping the junction open for business during the construction process.

The judging panel was particularly impressed by a focus on continuous improvement among a highly collaborative team and engagement with the local community.

A dedicated Facebook page drove community engagement and regular town hall meetings were held with community groups, residents, local councils and MPs.

“This complex road project was delivered early and on budget thanks to a focus on continuous improvement among a highly collaborative team”

Judges’ comment

Road users were quick to praise the congestion-busting results of the upgrade on other social media.

One Twitter user said: “Came through this for the first time yesterday evening around 6pm – sailed through and that’s just with one lane. What a difference!”

The project benefited from a highly collaborative approach involving the client, designer, contractor and stakeholder teams.

Commitment to health and safety and wellbeing was also very impressive. Working groups focused on the six key risks identified during the project, while mental health ambassadors and workshops were available. Workers were also treated to ‘free fruit Fridays’.

Ticking the innovation box was the use of Google Street Car for condition surveys and application of geotextile materials to reduce embankment drainage layers by a third.

The project also scored highly on sustainability. Around 300,000 sq m of new natural habitat was created, meaning a net biodiversity gain.

Client satisfaction was similarly positive. Highways England project manager Ivan Marriott said: “The transformation of the junction has been utterly amazing. I am very proud of what we have achieved as a team.

“The Skanska team should be too as they expertly led the project through the construction stage establishing the team, the culture and belief to deliver the project safely.”


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