A556 - Knutsford to Bowdon Improvement

Client Highways England

The A556 is a key strategic route linking the West Midlands and Cheshire to Greater Manchester and Manchester International Airport. The new link between Junction 19 of the M6 and Junction 7 of the M56 replaces the most congested link on England’s trunk road network, carrying 52,000 vehicles per day and with a recognised poor accident/incident record. The new £192m dual carriageway creates a safer, more reliable trunk route in rural Cheshire which is bounded by sensitive RAMSAR and SSSI sites.

It is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the North West which makes significant environmental, economic, and social improvements in line with the Government’s vision for transport.

Capita Real estate and infrastructure provided multi-disciplinary highway engineering and environmental services, including assessment of options to DMRB Stage 2, stakeholder engagement, environmental and geotechnical surveying, air quality, noise and vibration, transport technology, transportation and traffic modelling, project management, cost management, CDM principal designer, risk and value management, design development. Preparation of supporting Target Cost information, extensive support for the Development Consent Order (DCO), construction monitoring, BIM management and level 2 compliant design services.

Key features of the scheme are:

  • Highways England’s BIM Early Adopter Project
  • First major road scheme delivered successfully through the new DCO planning process
  • 7.5km of new dual carriageway (6km offline)
  • In excess of 1.1m m³ earthworks
  • Re-modelling of the M56 at Junction 7
  • 15+ new structures
  • Major stats diversions
  • Extensive environmental mitigation works, including great crested newt mitigation areas with 21 ponds and 5 bat hop overs
  • Highways England’s first Green Bridge
  • Works to de-trunk the existing A556 to reduce width to 2 lanes and provide a shared NMU facility

On the project, we developed a specific process for hazard tagging in the digital BIM model. This specifically contributed to the development of PAS 1192-6 and the associated HSE publication Improving Health and Safety Outcomes in Construction – Making a Case for Building Information Modelling.

In summary, BIM is used to communicate hazards and safe working practices by illustrating risks and safety procedures visually. ‘Hazard Triangles’ are associated to components in the 3D model. These are linked to the live risk register and colour-coded accordingly (RAG scoring for high / medium / low risks). As risk is closed out or the likelihood / impact mitigated the colour of the risk is downgraded, providing a live illustration of the risk register for simple communication. These triangles are also recreated automatically on associated documentation, including screenshots and 2D drawings, and incorporated into 4D sequences – linking the model to the programme, illustrating risks at particular points in time. These risks are annotated with Risk IDs and Risk Descriptions.

The project has recieved a number of awards, including: 

  • Green Apple Silver Sustainability Award;
  • CIHT North West Project of the Year 2018;
  • Highly commended by the ICE NW Communities Project Award 2017;
  • Highly Commended for CIHT Sustainability Award 2016;
  • Awarded Most Considerate Site Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) National Site Awards.