Externiture was asked to carry out the civils works as part of a larger project to install Real Time Passenger Information units on 11 bus stops.
This involved the installation of the NAL sockets, ducting and draw cords as well as the upgrading of existing feeder pillars.
It was key that, during the project, downtime to shelter lighting and access to bus stops were kept to a minimum, and with as little disruption to traffic and pedestrians as possible. This took careful planning - which started with site assessments at each location to:
Photographs were taken of each site to show the marked-up location and surrounding area. Traffic management requirements were also identified by collecting data on vehicle flows, carriageway widths and pedestrian & cycle movements.
The project would also involve working in conjunction with Scottish Power to disconnect & reconnect supplies - allowing us to upgrade the existing feeder pillars and arrange supply to the new pillars. From our experience of previous, similar projects, the challenge of arranging with Scottish Power to do the associated groundworks for the supply transfers using their sub-contractor caused long delays. Having our own installations team with a vast amount of groundworks experience meant we could offer a solution to East Dunbartonshire Council where we could do this part of the work ourselves.
This was agreed with East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) & Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and further details of the project discussed in order to create a programme for the works.
For efficiency, works were batched by (a) work types and by (b) traffic management requirements. During the first phase of works, NAL sockets were installed. Once installed these were then barriered off to allow the concrete to go off. In the cold winter climates of Scotland, this takes longer than normal so, by having them in first, this was key to keeping disruption to a minimum. Externiture then worked on trenching at the same site and lay the ducting.
Once complete the trench was temporarily reinstated to minimise disruption and clear the footway of obstructions as quickly as possible. Once the socket was set, this was also temporarily reinstated and all the barriers removed. This was done at all the sites with existing feeder pillars first.
[PICTURE 2 - Barriers]
We then moved on to all the sites that required a new supply - following the same process as above with the addition of installing the new feeder pillar. At some sites, the trench had to go across the full width of the footway. In these instances, so that we didn't need to fully close the footway (and could, therefore, maintain access for pedestrians), we worked in two stages. We closed half the footway, dug the trench and laid the ducting, then temporarily reinstated the footway. We then reopened that first half of the footway and started work on the other half.
The additional groundworks for the bus stops that had existing feeder pillars was to excavate over the cable in front of the feeder pillar. This enabled Scottish Power to safely disconnect the supply by isolating the service and fitting a temporary “pot end” to make the cable safe.
The exact specification was provided by Scottish Power and work began on the excavations. Once the supply was safely disconnected, the feeder pillar was upgraded to a new [XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX]. Scottish Power then returned to joint a clean piece of cable and cut out - reconnecting the electrical supply. Now that this was done, we had a qualified electrician attend each site and complete the electrical connections.
[PICTURE 3 - Electrics shot]
Finally, all sites were revisited and the final HRA reinstatements were carried out.
Externiture excels at project planning and communication capabilities for these types of projects. Throughout this project, communication was crucial between all parties and there were daily communications between the project manager, supervisor & installation crews to ensure everything was kept to schedule, or adjusted if issues arose. Our planning software/system issued the crews with unique job sheets for each site, which provided detailed data on location, technical aspects, specific requirements and traffic/pedestrian management information. The job sheets also provided clear photos (taken from the initial site survey) and, subsequently, at each visit to site, new photos were taken to record project progress and provide date-time stamped evidence of work delivered.
The progress photos were then provided to both EDC & SPT on a regular basis and completion photos at the end of the project. These were provided with a spreadsheet that kept track of the project progress. Everyone involved was continuously aware as to how things were progressing and any issues that came up were highlighted.
One main issue that arose at two different sites, was the detection of underground service cables at a shallow depth. This meant that we could not trench where planned or install the NAL socket. Here at Externiture, we're used to creating solutions to challenges. So, on one site, we agreed a change in the position that remained within the scope agreed with EDC & SPT. However, at the other site there was no other position available. So, this was reported back and together with EDC & SPT, it was agreed that this site would have a shallow socket installed.
Overall, a fantastic example of how Externiture can deliver small works across multiple geographical locations effectively, efficiently and creatively solve challenges as they occur.
As part of our ongoing DDA work for Oxfordshire we have been improving access to bus stops across the county.