Unfortunately the threat of wet weather today and tomorrow means that the team are unable to carry out any work over the weekend. The vast majority of the resurfacing works need to be carried out in dry weather. The team will be resuming work on Monday morning as weather allows. While this is very frustrating, the good weather we have experienced during the first two and a half weeks of the project means that we are remain on schedule to complete the resurfacing of the cantilevers by the end of July. During the recent period of fine weather we have been asked why work cannot begin earlier in the morning or continue until later in the evening. As previously explained, we need to consider the impact of the works on the people who live close to the bridge.
The permitted working hours within the contract are between 7.30 am and 7pm. Many of the resurfacing operations are extremely noisy and working outside of our permitted working hours would cause significant disturbance for our neighbours.
The scheme involves a number of construction processes that need to be carried out in a certain order, similar to a factory production line. Many of the processes require applied materials to become dry or fully cured before the next process can happen. This creates natural breaks in the work or processes, and can prevent work on a new process from being started at the end of a day.
We are monitoring the works closely to ensure that they remain on schedule.
The layout of the cantilevers, a single lane width, also means it is very difficult to safely have large groups of workers and heavy machinery close together. This restricts the amount of plant, equipment and the number of people working on site at any one time.
We understand why some travellers might prefer longer working hours if that leads to the scheme being completed more quickly, but we need to consider the safety of the workforce as well as the impact on nearby residents.
We have also continued to be asked why the resurfacing was not carried out during lockdown at the same time as the kerb replacement works.
As previously explained the kerb replacement and waterproofing works had to be completed first so that the new surfacing material could be laid right up to the kerbs with minimal construction joints in the new surfacing. This not only ensures a good seal between the kerb and new surfacing, but also provides the best waterproof protection to the steel bridge deck.
When the UK went into the first national lockdown in March 2020, we were part way through the kerb replacement project. We were able to continue working on that contract by adapting our working methods, reducing resources and adjusting our work sequencing to ensure that our contractor adhered to Government guidance at the time.
This unavoidable change in working methods, and the impact of material supply issues experienced across the UK, led to the contract taking longer than expected and the project was not completed until December 2020.
The resurfacing works, in particular the waterproofing, must be carried out in dry and mild weather and this meant we weren’t able to start the resurfacing in December once the kerb project was complete.
Both the contracts also require very different expertise, plant, equipment and materials and trying to integrate them together would have been complex and inefficient.