Considerately constructing the Bolton Interchange project – Kier Construction Northern

The £25million development of Bolton town centre will include new retail and office outlets and a newly configured transport network.

Working on behalf of the client, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Kier Construction is redeveloping the road and pedestrian system and creating a bus and rail interchange complex, complete with retail outlets and office space.

The construction is taking place on a brownfield site that previously comprised of car parks and retail units. The new facilities will allow for local buses to enter the site, and passengers to embark and disembark, before following a one way system out of the station and onto the newly designed roads near to St Patrick’s parish church. The interchange will also encompass retail outlets, shop-mobility facilities, offices and a pedestrian bridge linking the train station to the new bus station.

Site Manager Ryan Southern said:

“One of the many benefits of Scheme Registration is that it helps to provide a focus on the local community as a whole, aiding us in considering our neighbours and local businesses at all decision stages. For example, we are constantly ensuring that the local flats and apartments have access to their car park at all times when organising site deliveries and drainage works.

Another example was when we were asked by the residents in the local flats if we could salvage and donate fencing panels that were on the site. In support of local businesses, we advertise the local cafes in our inductions and use the local independent cafes to cater for business lunches and so on.”

An additional benefit of registration for the Kier Construction Northern team has been the use of the Scheme’s Best Practice Hub, with the Bolton Interchange team regularly consulting the Hub and reading the Scheme’s ‘Spotlight on…’ campaigns to enhance registration and demonstrate the highest possible standards to staff.

One of the main challenges encountered with the project was the extremely busy location and close proximity of the site to the local parish of St Patrick’s and the flats across the road, as well as nearby train stations.

Here are some examples of best practice initiatives carried out by Kier Construction Northern:

  • The environmental wheel wash system reduced the need for a mechanical road sweeper on a full-time basis.
  • A shop-front image built into the hoarding was a great feature and also displayed performance information for public viewing.
  • Delivery vehicles were scheduled off-peak and had sufficient room on-site to offload safely.
  • Parking for site operatives was provided off-street, using some of the land agreed by the client.
  • There was a no smoking policy in all parts of the ‘live’ site. The contractor set up a designated out-of-view area in the compound to avoid any negative image issues.
  • Expected standards of appearance and behaviour were covered in the site induction.
  • The project was promoted on social media sites.
  • The amount of detail given over to the planning and operation of the traffic management and logistics plan meant it was ‘business as usual’ for the surrounding businesses and the church opposite the site.
  • As the site was positioned alongside two live railway lines, part of the pre-cast concrete installation works were scheduled so that night-time works tied in with Network Rail operations.
  • Contact information for the general public was clearly displayed around the site boundary using the Scheme posters.
  • Opposite the site was a four-storey apartment block, with the site and flats separated by a small single carriageway access road. During the drainage installation works, the site team completed various letter drops in addition to the TfGM newsletter, explaining the proposed works.
  • The traffic management plan was sent out at the start of each new package order and every site induction covered the site access and exit procedures, via the main roads and not the access street. This was to ensure that no large articulated wagons blocked access or traffic at any time.
  • The project team ensured that all construction traffic (including cars) left site via a left turn only, to minimise risk to cyclists and pedestrians from turning traffic.
  • There were targets set for local spending and employment to support the local economy.
  • Local primary schools were contacted via the company’s community engagement lead.
  • Out of respect to neighbours and local businesses, whenever soil was removed from site, the site team organised a road sweeper which was continually in use alongside the site’s existing wheel-wash. All vehicles leaving site were driven through this facility.
  • St. Patrick’s parish church was on the corner of the main site access. At all times the site ensured that no deliveries or offloading wagons prevented access to the church or its garage.
  • The site team set up regular communication with the parish priest, scheduling regular phone calls or coffee mornings on-site to allow him to be fully informed of on-going works.
  • When the church was holding a funeral, the priest called his site contact and the team ceased any loud working and prevented any deliveries accessing site for the duration of the funeral. The funeral times were posted on-site and an amber beacon on the gatehouse signified the duration of the funeral to all operatives.
  • There was a joint client/contractor drive to use local employment of apprentices from the local area. A total of four apprentices were on-site during the foundation piling period.
  • A graduate forum (Skanska) site visit took place, with school and college visits programmed.
  • A viewing platform was placed in a safe zone to accommodate site visits from schools and colleges.
  • Goodwill gestures included donating fencing materials to neighbours. Also a Macmillan coffee morning was planned and clothes and food banks were set up. 
  • Due to the nature of the works and existing land, a large quantity of soil was required to be taken from site. Although the team planned to re-use as much soil as possible on site, some still had to be taken away. With this in mind a large tonnage of soil was sent to a neighbouring site through the CL:AIRE (Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environment) scheme, ensuring that as little waste was created as possible.
  • An environmental log was established and incident response procedures were in place.
  • Monthly environmental performance figures were managed online.
  • SMART Waste (Premier Waste Management) was fed into the company’s environmental objectives and targets under ISO 14001 procedures.
  • The new cabins were modern and fully eco-friendly.
  • Carbon monitoring was to Defra guidelines and the results were included in the monthly reporting to ISO 14001 standards.
  • General environmental awareness was promoted via toolbox talks.
  • Rainwater harvesting was implemented on site.
  • A concrete wagon wash-out facility was provided by the contractor.
  • Key personnel were Network Rail qualified and the company edict stipulates rail industry standard PPE for the site.
  • There was a sign-in procedure at the manned site entrance and access onto the working site via a face-recognition operated turnstile.
  • The site boundary had a plentiful amount of hazard signs to inform the public.
  • The workforce was encouraged to provide feedback on any areas of concern and the site encouraged near-miss reporting.
  • Delivery vehicles were escorted at all times when entering the site boundary.
  • Fire points were located around the site and there were daily safety briefings and coordination meetings were a feature of the site.
  • Site safety initiatives included Kier Target Zero and staff targets for SUSAR (Suspected Unexpected Serious Adverse Reactions) reporting.
  • Daily subcontractor supervisors’ safety and coordination meetings were in place.
  • HAV (Hand Arm Vibration) warning stickers were clearly visible on small tools and equipment.
  • There was a separate mobile phone zone.
  • There were anti-slip mats at pedestrian crossing points.
  • Excellent welfare facilities were set up for everyone on site, including a prayer room and shower facilities.
  • Additional facilities included drinking fountains and a range of health and wellbeing information on display.
  • To support the health of operatives and minimise disruption to local residents, the site utilised Ecolite H2 lighting towers, which are both environmentally friendly (zero carbon emissions and zero possibility of fuel consumption) and also produce a “moonlight” effect. This produced less strain on operatives working and minimised light pollution for the residents.
  • Site aligned with the CITB ‘Be Fair’ framework to demonstrate a commitment to address unfair practices and inequalities.

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