Steve Mack is a project director for Kier. He is currently leading on the A13 Road Widening Project in Thurrock. Here, Steve gives us an overview of this exciting project which will enable continued investment in jobs, homes and infrastructure across the south east.

“I have worked for Kier for 22 years across a range of different high-profile construction projects, including submarine docks, nuclear power stations, retail developments and major highway schemes. In spring 2019, I joined the A13 Road Widening Project at a crucial time where the level of activity of site was growing rapidly, including the start of major earthworks, underground drainage installation and bridge piling.

The A13 is a vital part of the transport network across the south east, but is currently operating over capacity, with approximately 77,000 vehicles using the section of road between Orsett and Stanford-le-Hope, every day. Our project includes widening this section of the A13 from two to three lanes, replacing four bridges over the A13, remodelling the Orsett Cock roundabout to increase capacity and installing traffic signals to help manage vehicle flows more safely.

It’s really important to the team working on the project that we strive to complete it safely. We’ve currently worked more than 215,000 hours without any serious incidents and it’s imperative that we continue to work hard to keep our people safe. We’re passionate about using innovation to maintain our safety record and are proud to have been the first Kier site to introduce the new ‘dual-view’ wheeled dumpers which eliminate the need to reverse by utilising a seat and control console which can rotate 180 degrees, giving the driver the best view possible.

One of our other objectives is to carry out our works in a way that minimises the impact on our stakeholders. These include the local community, road users and the many businesses that rely on the A13 to keep operating 24/7. Horndon Road Bridge is a lifeline to pedestrians and cyclists as it connects those in the village of Horndon on the Hill with the bigger town of Stanford-le-Hope, which has a secondary school and railway station. To avoid cutting off one community from another during the construction process, we will build the new bridge and open it to the public first, before demolishing the existing bridge.

Elsewhere on the project, we’re looking at alternative ways of working which will lessen the overall level of disruption experienced by residents. This includes utilising weekend-long road closures to work more efficiently and reduce the number of overnight closures required to carry out piling works at the Orsett Cock roundabout.

To help raise awareness of the scheme, we have worked with our client Thurrock Council to deliver a multi-channel engagement campaign, advising them on how best to reach different audiences using a combination of public information events, drop-in sessions, web, social media and project newsletters, amongst other methods.

We are registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and have been rated as ‘Excellent’ in both of our visits so far, receiving upwards of 40 out of 50, each time. These assessments are a great way of capturing valuable, independent feedback about our performance and helping us to improve even further.

Completing this project will support economic growth across Thurrock and the south east, by enabling businesses to increase productivity, reduce costs and generate more employment.

For me though, the biggest positive is our ability to benefit the local economy during the construction process. We do this in several ways, including employing local suppliers and sub-contractors and spending money within community. In April 2019 alone, we spent an incredible £470,000 on local businesses within 10 miles of the project, this is something I’m incredibly proud of.

The works are due to complete in autumn 2020 I’m excited by the progress that we’re making and looking forward to seeing the project continue to take shape over time.”

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