Supporting the development of A roads - a case study

Igne supported Balfour Beatty’s developments to the A63 in Hull by providing unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk mitigation services.

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Supporting the development of A roads - a case study

The provision of unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk mitigation services help enable the safe and timely delivery of infrastructure and transportation development projects the length and breadth of the UK.

Igne provided its UXO risk mitigation services to Balfour Beatty, in support of their scheme to enhance the A63 in Hull.

10 years & £355 million in the making: the A63 development project 

Since Balfour Beatty won the work under an early contractor involvement design and build contract in 2014, the A63 road development project has quadrupled in value. 

Initially, it was expected that the improvement works would cost £75 million. Now, the project is expected to cost a staggering £355 million.

The works will be carried out over the next five years, meaning that from inception to completion this project will have been more than a decade in the making. That’s just one reason why the smooth delivery of all aspects of the project is essential – which is where Igne's add value.

Connecting north and south Hull

The developments to the A63 are part of a major Highways England project, and a key scheme in the Transport for the North’s strategic plan.

The objective of the A63 developments is to implement a range of enhancements that will improve the connections between Hull city centre and the docks by:

  • easing congestion
  • improving journey times
  • connecting north and south Hull
  • making travel around the city easier for pedestrians, cyclists, and disabled travellers

For the project to achieve its aims, these developments will require a range of complex works that will be carried out over the next five years.

This work will include:

  • the creation of a new junction by lowering an existing junction by 7 meters
  • widening a carriageway into 3 lanes
  • constructing two new bridges
  • creating a split-level junction

Completing the groundwork and intrusive works for this project will be an intensive process…

In order to protect the safety of their staff and their project timelines, Balfour Beatty recognised that understanding the site’s history was an essential first step to enable constructive and effective planning.

A site of historical significance 

Health and safety are critical concerns for those within the construction sector.  Due to the physical nature of the work, including the use of heavy site machinery etc. there is a prevalent  risk of injury on the job.  When you add in a chance of exposing unexploded ordnance on a site, that risk significantly increases.

Mitigating  these risks is essential to protect the wellbeing of staff – as an exceptional employer, Balfour Beatty takes all possible measures to achieve this goal.

For example, they know that understanding the history of a site can provide crucial insights to help inform the project planning stage by highlighting potential challenges ahead of works beginning.

For that reason, they asked Igne’s dedicated team of historical researchers to help them understand the UXO risk level of this site in Hull.

To do so, the researchers used a variety of sources such as bomb plot maps, archives and statistics to understand the UXO risk level. 

During the Blitz in WWII, Hull was hit more than 80 times across a four-year period.  The docks, which are a crucial site for the A63’s improvements, were a regular bombing target.  As up to 10% of air dropped bombs failed to detonate, the risk in this area is considered high.

In addition to the threat of encountering unexploded ordnance, the required works will involve excavating a 237-year-old burial ground, making the site of significant interest to historians.

Safety first

Considering the UXO threat level, Balfour Beatty has been extra cautious for the safety of it staff and the archaeologists who are helping to excavate the 237-year-old graves at the Trinity Burial Ground. 

Igne has been employed to carry out explosive safety and awareness briefings for all those going on site. 

In addition, Igne’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts have remained on site to oversee ground works, ensuring the risk of unexpectedly unearthing UXO is at a minimum. 

The benefit to the client of having a dedicated EOD engineer on site is two-fold:

  • The engineer can rapidly identify any unearthed suspicious object. They can quickly discount non-ordnance, ensuring works continue uninterrupted – saving a client time and money.
  • If ordnance is found, the engineer will immediately take charge for the client, establishing a safe cordon and calling the relevant authorities. This also saves a client time – but more critically, it protects the lives of its personnel.

Balfour Beatty has also contracted Igne to provide further UXO detection services, utilising the geophysical engineering services Igne offers. 

If anomalies are detected, Igne will oversee the safe excavation and removal of these threats, enabling Balfour Beatty’s workers to continue their road improvements safely.

Igne’s services helps construction clients save time and money

If the UXO risk on a site is neglected, project managers have no visibility relating to potential knock-on effects that will result from the unexpected discovery of ordnance.  These effects can have huge time and cost implications as site evacuations will follow, deadlines will be missed, and additional costs will be encountered.

Evacuations when working on road enhancements are a complex and costly procedure.  Igne is proud to be supporting Balfour Beatty mitigate the UXO threat to ensure the smooth delivery of this project.

If you’re planning any form of intrusive groundworks, Igne can help you understand your potential risk of encountering unexploded ordnance or complex ground conditions, and it can help you mitigate any threat, manage any risk and overcome any hurdle.

Trust Igne to insure your risk - and ensure you keep your project on time and on budget.  Contact the team today to discuss your project.