Company News

Leigh to Ellenbrook Guided Busway

Although involved in some of the first guided busways constructed in Leeds and Edinburgh the exacting demands of the bus operators was not then fully understood and slipform paving was dismissed in favor of pre-cast solutions for Cambridge and Luton.

However, advancements in slipform technology, implementation of lessons learnt and shortfalls manifesting themselves with pre-cast solutions slipform paved guided busways are again back firmly on the agenda.

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Balfour Beatty and Extrudakerb realised that slipform construction could provide a viable alternative for the Leigh to Ellenbrook scheme and entered a consortium agreement prior to tender pre-qualification. The companies has worked together previously building the West Edinburgh guided busway over 10 years previously and were well aware of the challenges they faced to convince a Client of the advantages insitu construction could bring.

Atkins were appointed as the consortium’s deigner and the three companies began a detailed evaluation of the project demands and the solutions that could see a bid based upon slipform construction successful.

From the onset the team developed a bid based upon grinding of the guideway upstand faces to meet the critical +/-1mm tolerance demanded by the project specification.

A lengthy and complex tender process was completed with the successful contractor chosen on both a quality and cost basis.

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The contract was awarded in April 2013 and Extrudakerb immediately engaged its chosen supply chain with a detailed specification provided for a new slipform paving train including placing machine, paving machine and over 30 linear metres of fully mechanized tenting.

The Client imposed a series of trials to ensure that the grinding concept could be developed and deliver a radical new process and almost laboratory levels of control.

In July 2013 at Mira’s proving facility in the Midlands, three full scale 60m lengths of simulated busway upstand gauge were ground to within a tolerance of +/-1mm. The concept was proven and it was full steam ahead to develop a grinding machine capable of delivering over 200 linear metres of productivity per shift yet meeting the same exacting tolerances demonstrated at the trial.

An on site concrete plant has been established – another essential lesson learnt from previous insitu projects.

 The paving train has been procured and delivered and now sits awaiting further off and on site trials so as to develop the perfect concrete mix design making use of locally available materials.

 Full scale construction is expected to start late summer 2014.