STAKEHOLDER NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER
Welcome to our September newsletter for the North East. The glorious summer weather we’ve been experiencing has provided our teams with ideal conditions for carrying out a number of improvement works across the network which benefit from dry conditions, including carriageway repairs, resurfacing, retexturing and bridge maintenance works. In this edition, we’ve provided an overview of what we’ve been working on since the start of the year, touching on the impact the extreme winter weather including ‘The Beast from the East’ had on our programme of works earlier in the year. We also recently completed a Roadworker Safety campaign calling on Scotland’s road users to have more patience and respect for those carrying out essential road maintenance across the country’s trunk roads. The campaign highlighted research that revealed that over 85% of trunk road workers across the north of Scotland had their lives put at risk by motorists’ dangerous driving behaviour or are subjected to verbal or physical abuse, often on a daily basis.
Andy Thompson BEAR Scotland’s North East Operating Company Representative
The better weather also means that our landscaping teams have been extremely busy ensuring the green spaces across Scotland’s busiest lifeline routes are maintained. Each summer, we offer placements to students studying civil engineering and other associated degrees at Abertay University in Dundee so that they can come and work with us and find out more about what we do. On page 7 we hear from Ellice Mentiplay, 20, an environmental science and technology student, about her experience. We touch on our involvement within the community, including how our team has been helping to inspire the next generation of engineers through our work with local primary children in Broughty Ferry, as well as the fun we had with Bellyeoman Primary School in Dunfermline when they asked our team if beloved children’s book character, Flat Stanley, could join our teams out at work – we had lots of fun with this one!
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£16.6M investment ensures Scotland’s busiest routes remain safe for motorists
Since the start of this year, over £16.6m has been invested in improvement works across the north east to ensure some of Scotland’s busiest trunk roads continue to operate safely for years to come. One of the bigger projects carried out by the team saw a four mile stretch of the A90 Brechin Bypass benefit from £800,000 in carriageway repairs to help create a smoother and safer journey for motorists. The major route, used by approximately 8 million motorists each year, has also seen surface upgrades at Kinfauns, Balnabreich to Nether Careston, Cromwell to Broomhill Roundabout and North Anderson Drive in Aberdeen. On the A95, the historic Grade B listed Spey Bridge benefited from essential bridge maintenance works earlier this year which saw the resurfacing and the replacement of some of the bridge components. Footbridge proection improvements worth £500,000 are also underway on three bridges on the A90 Kingsway in Dundee. In and around Perth, the M90 has also seen major carriageway improvements and bridge maintenance carried out on Friarton Bridge and Junction 10 Craigend Interchange, with the Broxden slip road and M90 Cherryband southbound, also benefiting from surface improvements. This busy route has also seen resurfacing upgrades carried out at Glenfarg, which saw 1,900 tonnes of road material installed.
A95 Spey Bridge
‘Beast From The East’ sets new challenges for the team
The ‘Beast from the East’ took an icy grip of Scotland’s communities earlier this year as the nation experienced some of the most extreme winter weather in recent years. The BEAR Scotland team had their work cut out and experienced one of its busiest winters to date in treating and clearing Scotland’s key routes. The extreme weather also resulted in the rapid deterioration – the freeze/thaw cycle - of key roads across the North East because of the icy conditions experienced. BEAR Scotland’s North East Design Manager, Mark Turner, explains more: “The freeze/thaw action happened across the network at an extraordinary rate over winter due to the range of temperatures fluctuating above and below the freezing point. “The resulting fluctuation of temperature saw the asphalt binder that is the “glue” of the road begin to lose its natural resistance to water, which saw it penetrate into and underneath the pavement. This can ultimately lead to its bond with the road to weaken and once this happens, the surface can quickly fall prey to a number of different types of deterioration. “Many of the improvement works we had planned for earlier this year had to be reprioritised, however we are now back on track with our programme for across the network and the excellent summer weather has ensured our planned works continue apace.” Currently, a major retexturing programme to improve the skid resistance of the carriageways across the A9, A92, A95 and A96 is underway, as well as resurfacing improvements on the A95 Maggieknockater and M90 Cherrybank. Mark continued: “We still have a lot of resurfacing work to complete before the end of the summer. In total £7.7M will have been invested on resurfacing alone since the start of 2018.”
“The freeze and thaw action happened across the network at an extraordinary rate over winter”
Roadworker Safety Campaign launched
We recently called on Scotland’s road users to have more patience and respect for the work force carrying out essential road maintenance across the country’s main trunk roads. The campaign highlighted research that revealed that over 85% of trunk road workers across the north of Scotland had their lives put at risk by motorists’ dangerous driving behaviour or are subjected to verbal or physical abuse, often on a daily basis. The two week-long roadworker safety campaign, carried out in partnership with Transport Scotland, Scotland TranServ and Amey in the south of Scotland, saw us carry out a survey amongst employees into the levels of unsafe driver behaviour and abuse that teams have experienced in the past year. Andy Thompson, BEAR Scotland’s representative for the North East of Scotland said: “We rely on our employees to keep our motorways and other trunk roads safe every day. From repairing potholes to cutting grass, replacing lighting to attending incidents. There is no place for verbal or physical abuse, jumping red lights or speeding through roadworks past workers undertaking essential tasks. Everyone is entitled to respect at work, no matter where their place of work is.”
Key findings from the BEAR Scotland survey include: •
Drivers ignoring red lights and temporary traffic signals at road works – A vast majority (86%) of those surveyed have experienced road users ignoring red lights.
Drivers entering coned-off works – Over 73% of respondents have experienced motorists entering the works safe-zone area in the past year.
Verbal abuse from motorists – Three-quarters (75%) of employees have received verbal abuse from passing motorists in the past year.
Missiles thrown towards workforce – Nearly one out of three road workers experienced missiles being thrown towards them in the past year by passing motorists. This included bottles of juice, coffee cups, eggs, foam bullets, food wrappers and banana skins – as well as reports of bottles of urine and even a dirty nappy being thrown.
Threats and intimidation – a number of instances were reported of threatening behaviour being made to road workers manning road closure points.
Landscaping teams busier than ever over summer
The spectacular summer weather has allowed the landscapes across the network to flourish but also grow extremely quickly, so whilst the team have been able to make the most of the weather by working outdoors, they’ve also been extremely busy in keeping on top of maintenance. Luckily the landscaping team has been boosted by a new Landscape Architect to help take on the busy maintenance programme throughout the summer. Alongside grass cutting along some of Scotland’s busiest routes, including the A92 Crossgates Roundabout and A90 Kingsway in Dundee as well as weed control on footpaths on the A96 in Keith and Lhanbryde, the team has also been ensuring that key structures and routes are free from over hanging trees and shrubbery. This year a specialist team have been carrying out an indepth, detailed inspection across all trees on the network, which occurs every five years. This inspection, alongside BEAR’s own annual assessment of the condition and health of trees within the trunk road boundary, helps to inform the monthly landscaping programme of upcoming work. This means that any trees which are considered to be of hazard to road users, such as dead or dying trees, are added to the landscaping programme for teams to address and make safe. Teams take great care to respect the local wildlife and biodiversity before carrying out any landscaping improvements, and work closely with BEAR’s environmental team. A complete Environmental Impact Assessment is carried out prior to the removal of trees, and additional bird nesting surveys are completed within 48 hours prior to tree removal to ensure any impact is kept to a minimum. The areas next to the A90 at Brechin are filled with wild orchids and other wild flowers, and our landscaping teams take great care to ensure these are sectioned off during grass-cutting improvements to keep them growing beautifully.
From top: Wild orchids growing next to the A90 in Brechin - our teams take great care to section them off to allow them to continue to grow. Middle: A section of the M90 which has been cut back. Bottom: The annual grass-cutting programme has been as busy as ever this summer.
Students become honorary BEAR employees for summer Each summer, the BEAR Scotland team take on a number of students for summer placements as part of its ongoing partnership with Abertay University in Dundee. The placements see students taking on a number of difference roles from civil engineering to landscaping. Ellice Mentiplay, 20, from the East Coast, is currently working as part of the environmental team. She is a third year environmental science and technology student. Ellice said: “So far, I’ve been working on a whole range of things that I’ve never done before, from carrying out environmental screen reports for bridge restoration works, to reviewing landscaping and bridge design reports for upcoming programmes. “I’ll definitely be going back after the summer with a lot more knowledge of how my degree links into the wider world of work. It’s also going to be fantastic to be able to put my time with the company on my CV, so a big thank you to everyone in the team for making me feel so welcome.” Ged Mitchell, BEAR Scotland’s North East Environmental Manager, said: “The placements over the summer enable us to work with students who have expertise across civil engineering and associated degrees and it’s mutually beneficial too as it’s fantastic for us to be able to get input from the next generation, while also giving them hands on experience to contribute towards future roles.”
Bill Taylor’s Scholarship proving a success one year in
The Bill Taylor scholarship started in partnership with Abertay University students in memory of BEAR Scotland’s Chairman, Bill Taylor, who passed away in 2016, and who was also a Dundee Institute of Technology graduate in civil engineering before Abertay became a University. Open to students going into their third year of the Civil and Engineering course, the scholarship provides £3,400 investment over two years, a 12-week placement at BEAR Scotland and the opportunity for a full-time role within BEAR’s graduate training programme for successful candidates. The first candidate to succeed in getting onto the scholarship programme was Stephen Blacklaw, 37, from Dundee. Stephen is a mature student with three children. “I was working in London doing scaffolding previously and when I decided to come back to Scotland four years ago, I struggled to get a job that was suitable. I decided that going back to University was the best option and it’s been the best decision I’ve made. “Civil engineering is a really interesting subject for me and this scholarship is really going to help with my studies. While the financial side of it is amazing, the added benefit of gaining real-life work experience is a massive gain. “I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my new career and I’m really enjoying learning on the job with the team.” The next series of applications will begin in September.
Beloved children’s character Flat Stanley joins BEAR team at work BEAR Scotland was delighted to welcome an honorary member to the team this summer; beloved children’s book character, Flat Stanley, who was famously flattened by a bulletin board in his bedroom in 1964 and so can therefore travel under people’s doors very easily! A cardboard cut-out of Flat Stanley was sent to the BEAR team from the primary four class at Bellyeoman Primary School in Dunfermline as part of their project about the world of work.The pupils kindly asked if the BEAR team would be able to take photos of Stanley completing some work-related tasks. Andy Thompson, BEAR Scotland’s North East Unit Representative, said: “Stanley went on quite a journey across both the north east and north west networks, from helping the traffic management team on the A9, to working with our busy control room team.Our teams had a lot of fun getting Stanley involved in a whole range of activities and we thank Bellyeoman Primary for thinking about BEAR and allowing us to be part of your project.”
Mental health charity benefits from football tournament
The eighth BEAR Scotland charity Five-a-Side tournament took place in Perth earlier this year, with ten teams from across the business helping to raise £1,600 for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in the process. Since the tournament started over £15,000 has been raised for good causes across the country.
BEAR inspires next generation of engineers Just before the school summer holidays, Graduate Bridges Engineers Adam Hindmarch and Jamie Williams, visited primary five pupils at Eastern Primary School in Broughty Ferry as part of the Institute of Civil Engineers Bridges to Schools activity, which runs each year to reach out to the next generation of future engineers. The day saw 65 pupils gain an understanding of the various sectors of civil engineering and the importance of civil engineering in their day to day lives. They were then given the opportunity to get involved with the construction of a 6.5m span cable-stay bridge under the supervision and direction of Adam and Jamie and then challenged to walk across if they dared. The day was a real success with the bridge successfully completed and crossed!
The latest news and updates from the North East Trunk Road Unit. In this issue read more about BEAR Scotland's landscaping team, hear more...
Published on Sep 7, 2018
The latest news and updates from the North East Trunk Road Unit. In this issue read more about BEAR Scotland's landscaping team, hear more...