M20 J3-J5 SMART Motorways

M20 J3-J5 SMART Motorways

In October 2018, VolkerGround Engineering was awarded a £3m contract by Kier Highways Ltd to install bearing piles for the motorway signage on the M20, as part of the SMART Motorways programme.

Using VolkerGround Engineering’s brand new Soilmec SR75, on its maiden project, along with two externally hired BG30 piling rigs and handling cranes, the team installed 68 rotary piles, up to 25 metres in length.

The team also used a PVE55 Continuous Flight Auger (CFA) rig, with handling crane, to install 70 CFA piles, ranging from 600mm to 900mm in diameter, and 24m long reinforcement cages.

Difficult ground conditions, a live traffic environment and a restricted working area provided challenges for the team. Through effective communication with the client, our team managed to overcome each challenge with ease, to successfully complete the project on time.

To mitigate the risks to operatives and road users whilst piling within close proximity to live traffic, the team managed inter-site moves between abutments under occasional overnight road closures, reduced traffic flow, and planned the sequencing to compensate for the restricted area by never drilling and concreting at the same time.

Always mindful of sustainable practices and minimising noise disruption to local residents, the team introduced a bolder router to empty the sandstone from the core barrels.The boulder router is a steel spike set into concrete which removes the cores from inside the core barrel more efficiently and with less wear and tear on the Kelly Bar and machine parts.

The project was completed in 23,804 man hours with an exemplary HSE record.