Latest technology is having “a real impact” on road building, says National Highways

New technology has been trialled by National Highways that will speed up road construction and improve safety.

The first-of-a-kind technology takes the ‘guesswork’ out of compaction making sure the heavy plant gets the job done first time ensuring safe and durable foundations in road building.

As part of a commitment to developing and promoting Connected and Autonomous Plant, National Highways teamed up with partners Finning UK & Ireland and Galliford Try to trial the Intelligent Compaction innovation.

It was put to the test on a scheme in the South West being carried out by Galliford Try where National Highways is upgrading a stretch of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester to dual carriageway.

Compaction is one of the first activities to happen on site so any issues can impact the whole construction programme and increase costs. Intelligent Compaction provides reassurance that there is the required strength in the foundation and work can progress.

Using 3D mapping and a sophisticated sensor system, the technology ensures that the right level of compaction is achieved first time and spots any uneven areas which could cause settlement issues down the line.

National Highways Head of Innovation, Claire Hamar, said:

“We are constantly exploring new innovative ways to design, build and maintain our roads and are committed to making connected and autonomous plant the norm in construction. We believe that embracing innovation is the path to more efficient and safer projects.

“A huge positive that we discovered in the Intelligent Compaction trial was the improved efficiency and environmental benefits – as work did not need to be repeated so, thanks to the reduced fuel use, we had reduced carbon.


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