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Welcome to our March 2018 North East newsletter. Firstly – a big thank you for your patience over the last few months while we have worked to complete our programme of road improvements. Over £13M has been invested in trunk roads across the North East of Scotland over the past six months on behalf of Transport Scotland. The recent very cold weather has also had a significant impact on road surfaces across Scotland and in the North East we are continuing through March with an additional and accelerated resurfacing programme to address affected areas. In this newsletter you can find out more about some of the projects our teams have carried out to keep the network maintained to the highest level, including the installation of a brand new footbridge on the A95 in Cromdale for pedestrians and cyclists.

Andy Thompson BEAR Scotland’s North East Operating Company Representative

Our winter service has been busy this year and our teams have been working hard to treat routes and clear any snow throughout December, January and February, as well as during the ‘Beast from the East’ in early March. You can find out more about our winter service in this newsletter, including more information about our winter fleet and how we decide what salt treatments to carry out each day. Our teams work 24/7 to keep trunk roads clear from ice and snow all through the winter months, in often challenging conditions. We want everyone to stay safe when driving in winter weather, so please make sure you are prepared by checking the Traffic Scotland website for up to date travel information, leave some extra time to complete your journey and always be sure to drive to conditions. As ever, if you have any questions please do get in touch.

We welcome your feedback, get in touch: Traffic Scotland Customer Care Line

For general information and reporting defects: 0800 028 1414

BEAR Scotland General enquiries: 01738 448600

BEAR Scotland Media enquiries only: 0330 008 0610 or 0845 296 0027 @NETrunkRoads

BEAR has overseen £13M investment into NE trunk roads over last six months

M90 Craigend Interchange

Over the last six months the BEAR Scotland team has undertaken a number of improvement programmes in the North East of Scotland including resurfacing, road safety improvements and major investments in bridges. The total investment has been £13M. Delivery of this is always a delicate balancing act – on one side improving lifeline routes, on the other dealing with the inevitable disruption while works are undertaken. We do our best to minimise the latter as much as possible. Here’s an overview of some of the results: •

There have been a number of road improvements completed on the M90 in the past few months. From junctions 5 – 8 we’ve carried out phases of work to make the M90 better and safer. Some highlights include the Craigend Interchange, where we upgraded the safety barriers across two phases throughout a two week period. In October we also undertook cyclic maintenance works on all the slip roads and structures at this location. A £360,000 investment to upgrade the road at Kinross and Milnathort over 10 days to repair and improve the concrete carriageway was also carried out, along with £370,000 resurfacing carried out between Bridge of Earn and Balmanno Hill over a full weekend in September.

A section of the northbound A90 north of Dundee from Murroes to Tealing benefitted from resurfacing improvements worth £360,000 in July. Used by 13,600 vehicles every day the works took two weeks to complete and will ensure the longevity of the road for years to come.

We undertook footpath improvement works on the A90 from St. Madoes to Perth to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on the stretch. The works took three weeks costing £50,000 and involved safety improvements to the surface as well as installing signage to direct pedestrians and cyclists.

The parapets on the A92 Chapel Interchange Roundabout were also upgraded in December, following an investment of over £230,000. The work involved installing new parapets and barriers on the Chapel Roundabout overpass and adjoining slip roads for the A92. This will help ensure the bridges that carry the roundabout over the trunk road remains in a safe working condition for years to come.

Upgrades were carried out to the A95 Alexandra Way pedestrian and cyclist underpass in Elgin in autumn last year, helping to ensure the underpass continues to operate safely.

£200,000 resurfacing improvements were carried out on the A90 Toll of Birness in October to create a smoother and safer road surface for motorists.

Major parapet upgrades on the M90 at two overbridges near Glenfarg – Paris and Drunzie bridges - were carried out in the autumn, totalling around £380,000 of investment in the route. The works involved upgrading the existing safety barriers and bridge parapets, considerably improving the safety of the road at this location.

True Grit: BEAR Scotland’s winter service

Winter Maintenance at a Glance: • BEAR Scotland is responsible for managing and maintaining over 594km of trunk roads in North East of Scotland. • We have over 80 operatives trained to deal with winter in the North East Unit. • Our control room operates 24/7 and continuously monitors conditions across all trunk roads in the North East of Scotland. • Winter service is provided out of seven BEAR Scotland depots in the North East each winter. • Over 25,000 tonnes of salt is stored across the North East of Scotland at the start of winter. Deliveries throughout the winter top this up as required. • BEAR Scotland has 40 vehicles involved in carrying out precautionary winter treatments, patrols and snow clearance in the North East, plus five footway tractors. Ready, Spready, Go in Perth Depot • The winter service period runs from 1 October to 15 May each year. This can be extended beyond these dates should weather forecasts or conditions dictate. Precautionary Treatments • The main focus is to carry out precautionary treatments to prevent ice forming. • Every day BEAR Scotland receives detailed weather forecasts predicting which roads are expected to experience below freezing conditions and at what time. • To help stop ice forming, winter spreaders then treat the roads before the temperature drops. This is usually late afternoon (before peak traffic) and sometimes again overnight to make sure the roads have been treated before the morning peak. • The spreaders used for precautionary treatments and patrols are equipped for pre-wetted salting. • Pre-wetted salting uses brine mixed with dry salt immediately prior to spreading to help it stick to the road surface and start the melting process. • Last year BEAR Scotland carried out over 1,700 treatments on trunk roads in the North East of Scotland and used over 22,000 tonnes of de-icing materials.

Winter Patrols • 10 overnight winter patrols cover the North East of Scotland. • Winter patrol vehicles carry out reactive salt treatments and also record real-time road surface temperature data through on-board sensors, which this is then fed to the control room. Winter Fleet BEAR Scotland’s 45 strong north east winter fleet includes: Mr Plow loaded up ready to head out on the A9 at Kingussie • 19 large, 32-tonne eight-wheeler spreaders – some of the largest in the UK. • Five footway spreaders, to treat pavements and clear snow from footpaths. • Two snow blower attachments which are fitted to our tractors and are capable of moving up to 1,300 tonnes of snow per hour. • Local primary schools and competition winners across the country helped come up with names for some of BEAR Scotland’s spreaders including Gritty Gritty Bang Bang, Sir Grits-a-lot, Mrs McGritter and Sir Andy Flurry. • To ensure plant is ready for the winter, dry runs are carried out on all precautionary treatment routes and calibration checks are undertaken on vehicles prior to 1 October. Technology and Weather Forecasts • Daily detailed road weather forecasts are provided by our specialist meteorologist forecast provider Metdesk. • BEAR Scotland’s north east trunk roads are monitored by 32 roadside weather stations across the North East of Scotland which provide real-time, accurate information on conditions. • The Traffic Scotland gritter tracker details where spreaders have been over the past 24 hours. Thisbeing canwashed be viewed Gritallica down here: Flooding and High Winds • BEAR Scotland is equipped to deal with other adverse weather conditions over winter, including the impact of high winds and heavy rain. In the North East, this includes: • • • • • •

Seven pumps to help deal with flooding incidences on the trunk road network. 2000 sandbags. 10 strong specialist landscaping team trained to remove larger trees from trunk roads using chainsaws. A further six workers are trained to move smaller debris and branches from the roadside.

When a weather event is declared, additional teams patrol routes monitoring conditions. Last year teams attended over 82 flooding incidences across North East Scotland.

Plougher O’ Scotland BEAR Scotland teamed up with local radio station Tay FM’s breakfast show Wake Up With Webster to help name a gritter in the Dundee area in January. Listeners came up with some excellent suggestions for the huge 32-tonne, eight wheeler gritter, which can be spotted treating part of the A90 between Dundee and Aberdeen. In the end listeners voted to name the vehicle Plougher O’ Scotland, with the new name unveiled in a special naming ceremony in February. It was even piped in specially for the occasion by one of the BEAR team who plays with the Vale of Atholl pipe band. Plougher O’ Scotland is one of 40 North East winter vehicles that can be tracked through Transport Scotland’s online gritter tracker.

A gritters-eye view of the A9 near Dalwhinnie

Right: Met Office warnings for snow, ice & wind were issued across Scotland during Storm Caroline

New ÂŁ200K footbridge installed next to A95 in Cromdale

A new ÂŁ200,000 footbridge was successfully installed in Cromdale Village in November following nearly two months of construction. Work began in September to upgrade the existing footbridge in Cromdale which runs parallel with the A95 trunk road. The new timber and steel bridge replaces the previous structure which was worn-out and in need of repair. The new, wider structure also allows for easier access by wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs and cyclists. Upgrades to the footpaths to allow access at both sides of the bridge were also carried out as part of the project, including widening and resurfacing improvements. The project was designed so that the majority of the work was completed with minimal impact on road users, with a temporary footway created for pedestrians on the road bridge. The final phase involved lowering the new footbridge into position using a large 200-tonne crane which was based on the A95 road bridge. In order to complete the installation safely, the A95 was closed for a short duration overnight as the crane was based on the centre of the carriageway. An open evening was held at the start of the project to inform the local community about the plans before construction got underway.

Above: The old footbridge was worn out and in need of repair. Right: Teams held an open evening in Cromdale to share details of the new bridge with stakeholders and inform them about the project.

Commenting on the works, BEAR Scotland’s Project Engineer Nick Forbes said: “We’re pleased that the new footbridge has been well received by the local community, and that it has already been put to good use. “The new wider design means that there is easier access at both ends of the bridge, eliminating some of the narrow corners which could sometimes cause some difficulties for some bridge users with prams or mobility scooters. “We liaised with the local community throughout the project to provide up to date information and listen to any concerns, and once again thank them for their patience while we worked on the new bridge.” The local community have widely supported the new structure.

Major improvements were also carried out to the footpaths at either side of the new footbridge.

The footbridge runs parallel to the A95 road bridge which spans the Cromdale Burn.

A large 200-tonne crane was used to lower the new footbridge into position.

Community involvement

Christmas Jumper Day for charity Teams across the company got involved in a Christmas Jumper Day & raffle in December to help raise funds for Cash For Kids’ Mission Christmas Campaign. Cash for Kids responds to the needs of children in our communities so they can live life to the full and realise their individual potential. Each Christmas they host a campaign to help provide Christmas gifts for children living in poverty, who may otherwise wake up to nothing on 25th December. BEAR teams helped raise over £900 for the cause.

BEAR excells in CEEQUAL sustainability assessment Last year BEAR Scotland began working with CEEQUAL - the international evidence-based sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme for civil engineering. CEEQUAL help to assess the environmental, social performance and sustainability in our civil engineering projects. They work with clients, designers and contractors to improve the specification, design and construction of civil engineering works. The in-house team have been developing BEAR’s CEEQUAL submission for almost a year, and after months of hard work the first CEEQUAL scores to come back for the North East and North West Units are the equivalent of an ‘excellent’ rating. A fantastic result and a positive outcome following the hard work put in by the team in gathering all the required evidence to reach these figures.

Helping the community in Auchterarder

A team from BEAR Scotland once again leant a helping hand to the Community in Auchterarder by assisting with the maintenance of The Provost Walk foot path near the village in February. The team helped by removing weeds and grass from the filter drains along the path, planted groups of native flora and fauna in the large grass areas for wildlife habitats as well as carrying out some litter picking of the route. @NETrunkRoads

North East Connections - Stakeholder Newsletter - March 2018  

Read all about the latest news from the North East Trunk Road Unit, including our work on the A95 Cromdale Footbridge, our winter service an...

North East Connections - Stakeholder Newsletter - March 2018  

Read all about the latest news from the North East Trunk Road Unit, including our work on the A95 Cromdale Footbridge, our winter service an...