STAKEHOLDER NEWSLETTER SUMMER
Welcome “Over the last six months we have continued to ensure the 369 miles of trunk roads in the North East are kept in good condition for road users.”
Welcome to our latest newsletter highlighting the work being done by BEAR Scotland and our extended team of expert contractors across trunk roads in North East Scotland for which we have responsibility on behalf of Transport Scotland. Over the last six months we have continued to ensure the 369 miles of trunk roads in the North East are kept in good condition for road users.
Andy Thompson BEAR Scotland’s North East Operating Company Representative
Whilst weather conditions might be improving, it’s been a busy winter season for us. During November we ran a competition at the Scottish Roads Expo conference in Edinburgh inviting delegates to name some of our winter vehicles. As such Sir Andy Flurry, Gritallica and Ready, Spready, Go have joined BEAR’s winter fleet. Resurfacing works continue to be a big focus to ensure that motorists using trunk roads in the North East have a smooth and safe journey during their travels. Over the last year, Transport Scotland invested £15.7 million in road resurfacing across the North East. You can read more about the work we’ve done on their behalf on the A972 and M90 in this issue. Resurfacing works will continue with an additional £8.3 million expected to be invested in the coming months. I hope you find the newsletter an interesting read. As always, we would be delighted to receive feedback or answer any questions you may have.
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Over £28.5M invested in North East trunk roads
It’s been a demanding time across the North East with resurfacing improvement works taking place to ensure that trunk routes continue to operate safely for years to come for Scotland’s motorists. Over the last year, Transport Scotland invested £28.5M in road maintenance in the North East, £15.7M of which was in resurfacing programmes. Late last year resurfacing improvements on the A972 Kingsway East in Dundee were undertaken as part of a wider investment worth £435,000. As well as the resurfacing of the route along Forfar Road and Pitkerro Roundabout and Milton of Craigie, works also included new drainage kerbs. Whilst overnight road closures were required to ensure the works could be carried out safely, the team managed to complete the necessary upgrade works in six nights, finishing the works a day earlier than anticipated and reducing disruption to road users.
From above, clockwise: The A972 Kingsway improvements were carried out overnight to minimise disruption to motorists; the improvements on the A972 included drainage upgrades as well as resurfacing; double white-line painting on the A90 Rora Junction; the M90 improvments underway in March this year. More works are planned to take place in June.
In addition to this, more than six miles of the eight mile M90 concrete carriageway has been resurfaced across nine different schemes since December 2015. Resurfacing works also took place on this route between Junction 5 (Hilton) and Junction 8 (Arlary) earlier this year following a series of localised resurfacing schemes to continue our efforts of reducing defects and to improve the overall surface quality of this extremely busy route. We now turn to the next phase of improvement works on the M90 that is currently underway on the concrete carriageway.
Over 16,000 tonnes of de-icing materials used this winter! At the end of this winter, over 16,000 tonnes of de-icing material, from a stock pile of 25,000 tonnes of salt, had been used to help treat the 369 miles of roads we maintain across the North East. Storm Angus kicked off the colder conditions in November and hit the country with 80mph winds. As ever, during the winter months, our winter maintenance teams have been working around the clock to ensure that our routes across the North East are kept as clear and safe for motorists as possible. Since the winter season officially started in October, we carried out 1,729 treatments across the North East to ensure Scotland’s key transport links were kept clear. Whilst spring has now arrived the winter season for us lasted right up until 15 May to help deal with any poor weather conditions that occurred – including snow as late as mid April! Planning for winter 2017 will now begin in the coming weeks. It’s an on-going process which we work together with Transport Scotland to ensure our teams are equipped for the season ahead. Here’s a snapshot of the scale of BEAR’s winter maintenance operation in the North East: •
11,188 tonnes of salt has been used in the North East Unit to cover this year’s winter service period.
1,729 precautionary treatments have been carried out across the North East Unit in 2016/2017. The main focus of the winter service is to carry out precautionary treatments to prevent ice forming.
600 tonnes of snow per hour is the capacity of how much snow the North East’s three snow blowers can move at any one time.
Over 80 operatives are trained to deal with winter.
40 vehicles are involved in carrying out precautionary treatments, patrols and snow clearance.
31 roadside weather stations located throughout the Unit help to monitor road surface temperatures and road conditions through the MetDesk Road Weather Information System.
10 overnight patrols cover the Unit. The patrol vehicles are capable of carrying out reactive salting and record real time information on road surface temperatures.
8 operational depots manage winter service patrols.
Top: Spreaders Gritty Gritty Bang Bang and friends getting ready for winter treatments. Middle: Clearing footpaths on A96 in Keith.
Meet BEAR’s newly-named spreaders Tennis ace Sir Andy Murray has had quite a year. After being crowned number one in the world for his sporting achievements, he was knighted earlier this year. To add to his crowing glories, he has also had a BEAR Scotland gritter named after him; Sir Andy Flurry! BEAR hosted a competition at last year’s Road Expo in November which brings together key figures at the forefront of Scottish road maintenance industry. Delegates were asked to enter their name suggestions for three of our winter spreaders. The winning names were Sir Andy Flurry, Gritallica and Ready, Spready, Go. All three spreaders have been working across both of our North West and North East routes, monitoring conditions and treating as necessary. Well done again to our competition winners! We now have three very creatively named spreaders to join our other winter gritters which were named as part of a school’s competition last winter with winning names including: Mrs McGritter, Sprinkles, The Winter Explorer and Sir Grits-alot.
Innovative new winter treatments moves up a gear BEAR Scotland continued to carry out an innovative winter treatment trial on sections of the network to investigate a potentially more effective method of treating trunk roads during winter. Working with the Transport Research Laboratory on behalf of Transport Scotland and the National Winter Service Research Group (NWSRG), teams examined the performance of an application of salt water (brine) against current methods which use rock salt pre-wetted with brine. The results are being considered and could lead to a more effective and resilient method of treating Scotland’s trunk roads. The brine-only treatment is currently used in Scandinavia, other parts of Europe and the United States of America. Using a brine-only treatment on routes creates a uniform treatment across the road surface and also helps to activate the melting process quicker. In addition less salt is required as the use of brine means less salt bounces off the carriageway resulting in a higher level of residual salt remaining on the surface. The end result is potentially a more cost-effective alternative compared to using rock-salt treatments, although fleet and depots would have to be adapted to facilitate the use of the new solution. The brine trial was extended in mid-February to cover a whole route on the south end of the A9 between Perth and Dunblane. An upgraded brine tanker which can hold 11,000 litres of brine was used to carry out the 16 treatments as part of the trial on the 47km route. The trial proved to be a success with no winter related issues following the brine-only treatments and it is intended to continue trialling this method of treatment for a full season next winter to consider the results further. Andy Thompson, BEAR Scotland’s North East representative, said: “We carried out a trial of the new brine-only treatment on the A9 at Aviemore two years ago and we have since carried out a further trial on a section of the A9 near Perth this winter. Special sensors have been embedded in the carriageway which continuously measure salt levels on the road surface, helping to provide an indication as to the effectiveness of the treatments in all weather conditions.
Above: Specially equipped brinetankers were used as part of the trial during winter treatments.
“We hope to roll-out this new method more widely next winter.”
BEAR hits gold with employer award In October we were delighted to be presented with a Gold Employer Award by Perth & Kinross Council for our collaboration with Barnardo’s Works. The innovative initiative, run by the charity Barnardo’s, supports young people from local communities in securing independent, sustainable employment. BEAR has been working with the Barnardo’s Works team for over six years. Three young people who undertook work placements at BEAR in 2016 as part of the programme recently secured full time roles with the company - two in our operations team and one in our roads design team. We remain committed to investing in young people and will continue to offer apprenticeship programmes in a number of disciplines throughout the business.
Left: Two of the young people employed by BEAR Scotland through Barnardo’s Works. Right: BEAR Scotland was presented with the award by Perth & Kinross Council.
Community involvement Our teams live in and play an active part in the communities in which we work. Part of this commitment is to charity fundraising and taking part in team initiatives. Here are a few recent examples:
Over £2100 raised for charity at Stirling Scottish Marathon A team of five from BEAR Scotland raised over £2100 for charity after taking on the first ever Stirling Scottish Marathon on Sunday 21 May. One of the team - Lesley Pirie – made history as the first female runner to ever cross the finish line at the Stirling marathon, finishing in 2:47:48 and taking first place, a fantastic result. The other four in the group who were running a marathon for the first time crossed the finish line successfully. The team took on the 26.2 mile course to raise funds for ARC – Antenatal Results and Choices. ARC was the nominated charity of choice after the organisation provided invaluable support towards one of BEAR’s staff and their family after they lost their baby during pregnancy last year, and the charity continues to offer support and help to them today.
Top left, clockwise: Team BEAR at the start; Lesley Pirie makes history as first female finisher; Ryan Newman at the start line; three of the team with their finisher medals; Gerard Kelly and his support team.
Parts of the 26.2 mile route through Stirling are on roads that BEAR Scotland is responsible for - the A84 and a very small part of the A9. So, after some gentle persuasion, five willing volunteers came forward to take on the challenge and get involved! Well done to all.
Taking the plunge for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland
The annual Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland White Water Rafting challenge took place in March with two teams from BEAR racing 5.5 miles down the River Tay against five other boats to raise funds for charity. This year a record £2,750 was raised for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland from BEAR, with the teams taking both sixth place and the top spot - a great result!
Above: Teams from BEAR getting ready to take the plunge!
Published on Jul 4, 2017
Read about the latest news from the North East trunk road network, including our innovative new winter treatments and our latest investments...