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M271 Junction 1 – S278 Highway (Lidl)


The M271 motorway is one of the main arterial routes into the busy city port of Southampton. As part of its ongoing investment in the region Lidl UK, a subsidiary of the German Lidl Stiftung & Co, obtained planning permission to construct a new regional distribution centre at Junction 1 of the M271.

To carry out this work, the land vendor for the site, Barker Mills Trust, undertook to increase the road capacity to the site and as such upgrade the existing M271 Junction 1 interchange.

R&W joined the delivery team, working on behalf of Trant Engineering, a company with which R&W shares a long-term working relationship, and on the basis of the R&W team’s extensive knowledge of delivering complex highways schemes while minimising our clients’ risk and exposure.

Construction of the £5m scheme over 11 months commenced following extensive Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) with the client and the design team, during which the programme, costs and scheme risk register were developed. Over the seven-month ECI phase, the R&W team joined up with Trant and the client to present details about the scheme and its construction and, more importantly, our proposals for reducing its impact, to local residents, councillors, and businesses.

In addition to the extensive civil engineering aspects of the project, the R&W team designed, provided, installed and maintained all traffic management and temporary barriers on the scheme.

The R&W team oversaw all aspects of the work and co-ordinated the majority of the scheme’s specialist suppliers as members of the established R&W supply chain.

This project demonstrates R&W’s ability to undertake high value complex civil engineering works requiring extensive collaboration throughout the scheme, excellent public engagement skills, commercial robustness and a sound understanding of working on the Local Authority and Highways England network.

Working closely with the Trant team, R&W played a key role in the design development of the scheme. Working in a collaborative manner, months before the scheme was actually built, allowed all team members to gain a full understanding of what was required and arrive at the most cost effective solution to carry out the work.

During the seven-month ECI period, the R&W team, in their role of Network Guardians, reviewed all the traffic management constraints, working with Highways England (HE), Hampshire County Council (HCC) and Southampton City Council (SCC). R&W’s extensive knowledge of working for all three highway authorities ensured that our solution was robust, buildable, cost effective, fit for purpose and took into account local concerns about the impact of the 11-month construction phase, and minimised network occupancy. This same approach continued throughout the duration of the scheme, supported by regular co-ordination meetings to which all stakeholders were invited.

Untitled design (4)

Due to the very tight timescales involved in delivering the project, R&W’s site team has continued to work closely with the design team throughout the project, determining the deadlines to which the designers should work and, wherever possible, assisting with design approvals and reviews. This has been a key benefit to the overall project team as R&W’s knowledge of the external teams’ requirements and familiarity with the network has ensured that approval periods have been closely adhered to.

The complexities of this high profile project and allowance for other extensive works in the area, not least the concurrent construction of the distribution centre itself, have required a flexible and adaptable approach from R&W’s team. Regular liaison meetings between all parties have kept the project on programme and close management of the scheme risk register has ensured that the commercial aspects of the work have been closely monitored.

The full scope of R&W’s activities over the course of the project include:

  • Design works and co-ordination meetings
  • Site inspection works
  • Temporary traffic management works (including the supply and installation of both steel and concrete temporary barrier)
  • VRS barrier installation
  • Large-scale Statutory Undertakers’ plant diversion accommodation works
  • Extensive site clearance and demolition, and installation of site boundary fencing
  • New and upgrade of drainage works
  • Extensive earthworks (including large-scale geosynthetic stabilised embankment works)
  • Carriageway construction with capping and subbase
  • Hot rolled asphalt (HRA) surfacing works
  • Installation of kerbing, ducting, paving and pedestrian walkways
  • Traffic signal accommodation works, including large-scale illuminated and non-illuminated sign works
  • Reinforced concrete works (including extensive bridge deck repairs), bridge deck joint replacement works, lining and anti-skid works.

All these works have been undertaken during normal working hours, nights, weekends and, where required, during holiday periods to minimise network occupancy and constraints on site.

A key asset to the team was R&W’s extensive fleet of excavators, lorries and material reprocessing equipment. This in-house ‘capability’ enabled us to minimise the environmental impact of the scheme through design development, waste mitigation, material recycling and, where required, on-site reprocessing. The R&W team also reduced the impact of the scheme on the environment, road users and general public through close management and monitoring of lorry movements to and from the works.

Working with Trant as a single integrated team has avoided duplication of roles and fostered a positive ‘can do’ attitude amongst the team. Drawing on all parties’ strengths has led to this large-scale, multi million pound, technically challenging and logistically complex scheme being completed on time and on budget – a key requirement of the client of the delivery team as completion of the junction upgrade was key to the new facility becoming operational.

The site was visited and audited regularly by HE inspectors, the Trant team, HCC and SCC. All feedback was excellent and the reports demonstrated that the works were carried out to a very high standard.

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