Before its upgrade, Bulford Road was a single-track road with passing places, which served nationally important energy sites and other developments in the vicinity of the Milford Haven waterway. This improvement scheme has transformed 2.7km into a road with safe walking and cycling paths linking the communities of Tiers Cross and Johnston.
- National and local importance
- Ramboll’s involvement
- The project
- Sustainability from the outset
- Development of the Design
- Ecological enhancements
- Sustainability through the construction stage
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The project is important for:
- The local economy, and also for traffic accessing key energy infrastructure. Major strategic energy sites in the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone include the Murco Oil Refinery (now Puma Energy), South Hook LNG site and other development sites located to the west of Milford Haven.
- The local community by making journey times quicker and safer and reducing congestion and traffic, particularly heavy lorries, in Milford Haven town centre.
- Helping to achieve strategic priorities set out in various policy documents at Welsh, regional and local levels.
The Bulford Road Improvement project was conceived and designed to provide significant improvements to a single lane road between the Pembrokeshire villages of Tiers Cross and Johnston.
The road was narrow in nature with substandard vertical and horizontal alignment, and high hedgebanks along the greater part of its length. As a single lane road, Bulford Road’s condition made it a particularly difficult route for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists and those who live in the properties fronting onto the road. In addition, the road was subject to a relatively high proportion of use by heavy goods vehicles because the alternative route between the villages was generally via Milford Haven Town Centre and a restricted height bridge.
After eight years of design and preparation, construction started in 2014, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund, together with match funding from Pembrokeshire County Council. The new scheme opened in July 2015.
Ramboll was responsible for managing and carrying out the detailed design for Alun Griffiths Construction Ltd under a Design and Build Contract for the whole of the works. This included liaising with stakeholders including management teams at Alun Griffiths Ltd, Atkins Ltd, Faithful+Gould, EcoVigour SWTRA (South Wales Trunk Road Agency), Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire CC’s representatives and designers. Ramboll was also responsible for geotechnics, structural engineering, archaeology, ecology and landscape architecture – the latter being carried out by Morgan Henshaw. Ramboll produced the monthly design reports and assisted the contractor in developing the tender documents including earthworks drawings where significant savings were identified by remodelling the vertical alignment.
The project was designed to provide considerable improvements to the existing road link, and consequently to the surrounding area by alleviating existing constraints within the route. The scheme provides improvements to a 2.7km section of road including:
- A new 7.3m wide carriageway with 3.5m verges
- A shared cycleway and footpath to the northern side of the carriageway. This runs from the junction with the A4076 in the east, to a point where it diverts onto the bypassed section of Bulford Road to the east of Tiers Cross. The new shared use route links with the National Cycle Network (Route 4 Celtic Trail).
- New roundabout junctions constructed at each end of the realigned road.
Pembrokeshire County Council’s Environmental Sustainability Policy was a key driver in the development of the concept design of the project; with objectives of the project to:
- Provide improve traffic efficiency with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Enabling bus access along the road, thereby promoting sustainable transport
- Utilise local sustainable materials
- Promote biodiversity
- Improve the quality of the local built environment, and
- Minimise the risk of pollution.
- Improvements to Bulford Road project were identified as a priority to the Regional Transport Plan for south west Wales, and as a key mechanism to provide significant contributions to the local economy, community, transport and safety.
CEEQUAL was selected as the tool to both record sustainable aspects of the project and to identify areas for improvement.
The project achieved an Excellent Sustainability Strategy Assessment Award with a score of 93.3%, and an Excellent Sustainability Performance Assessment Whole Team Award with a score of 82.0%.
Optioneering for the project reviewed various strategies to provide the improvements needed to address the issues with the existing road. This optioneering, which identified the creation of a new offline road, whilst retaining the existing road for local access; was supported through considerable stakeholder engagement and consultation, as well as reviews of ecological, heritage, noise and traffic investigations.
Whilst the project has required the construction of a new road, measures have been taken where possible to provide ecological enhancements and improve the overall biodiversity of the project area. For example:
- The 1.7 km of species rich hedgerow lost as a result of the project was replaced with 3.6 km of new hedgebanks.
- New woodland was created
- A sustainable drainage system was implemented with the creation of new ponds
- Three mammal underpasses were created for badgers and otters. (Indications post-construction are that these underpasses are being used.)
- The stream culvert under the road was oversized to allow access through it for foraging bats
- Measures were taken during construction to maintain foraging corridors for bats through the creation of temporary hedgebanks using cut vegetation.
A lifecycle assessment was undertaken for the project with the following objectives:
- Select materials to achieve a high quality scheme, for constructing a section of highway that will be durable low maintenance, and incorporates recycled materials.
- Provide a new section of highway which sits down into the landscape and is not visually obtrusive. (The vertical alignment of the project was assessed as part of this to seek an earthworks balance for the project. Modifications included amending the culvert design from a concrete box culvert to a segmental steel arch, thereby allowing for a slightly lower level of construction in this section.)
- Provide a landscape design in keeping with the surrounding vegetation and landscape, as well as being biodiverse and of native provenance.
- Minimise the impact of the project on surrounding wildlife and habitats.
- Use construction methodologies to minimise environmental impacts and impacts on the surrounding community:
- Local suppliers were identified as possible sources for materials, and
- Material specifications in the design were reviewed to enable the use of recycled materials.
- Develop a solution which fulfils the above requirements within the scheme budget.
- Modify the design so as minimise the requirement for additional works:
- A key part of this was changing the alignment at the western end of the project to avoid the need to divert a 250mm water main and telecommunications infrastructure. This change also enabled a greater area of green landscaping to be created within the project’s footprint.
- Another key aspect was to amend the vertical alignment to reduce the amount of imported fill material that would be needed, and thus reduce movements of HGV’s on the wider network during the construction stage.
The site compound utilised an existing brownfield site, located in an existing farm yard, accessed from Bulford Road. This was shared with a haulage company.