In the case of Emergency…

Posted 23.01.2017

Prioritising the road-user is a key objective in keeping the traffic and the economy moving on England’s motorways and trunk roads. To this end, highways contractors are adopting forward planning initiatives to prepare for the different types of incidents that lead to closures of individual lanes or even entire roads.

In turn, surfacing contractors have developed comprehensive planning and communication techniques that enable the right assessments and decisions to be made. Here, Tripod Crest contract supervisor Nigel Summers shares his experience of approaching each stage of an emergency response, offering some thoughts around best practice.

Initial mobilisation – Aim: gather as much information about the incident regarding:

  • Type of incident i.e. fire damage, fuel/oil spill or gouging – enables selection of the right expertise i.e. patching crew or full machine lay crew
  • Area of affected pavement – enables optimisation of planing equipment, haulage lorries for damaged pavement material and surfacing operative resources
  • Road type and construction – enables selection of the right material supplier
  • Constraints on access (police/hazardous materials) – indicates timescales for mobilising equipment and resources

Assessment – Aim: assess the incident conditions to ensure the right resources are deployed including:

  • Which lanes are affected and the PSV of the surface course to be used to ensure the asphalt supplier has the required aggregate stone
  • Depth and surface area of repair and extent of fuel/oil spillage to ensure the correct quantity of bituminous materials is batched and transported to the site

Implementation – Aim: ensure the resource provision is capable of completing the works within the working window agreed with the network owner/maintainer including:

  • Delivery supply chain – sufficient numbers of planing and asphalt haulage lorries for the volumes to be milled and subsequently laid
  • Collaboration with other operations i.e. road markings, studs and barriers – managing access and interfaces to achieve the optimum process for repairing all of the affected asset

These techniques have assisted Tripod Crest in delivering in excess of 20 emergency call out events per annum. The key to successfully reopening lanes or carriageways in the timescales needed by the network operator is collaborative planning and working. We have stand-by planing and surfacing plant set up and people resource rotas that ensure each incident is responded to in the most efficient and effective way possible.