Digging up roads and laying tarmac at Woodford Court in Winsford

Woodford Court in Winsford

We’ve all been inconvenienced by road closures at one time or another. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that roads undergo a lot of wear and tear, and after a while they will require resurfacing. When we find ourselves up against the dreaded temporary traffic lights, sat in endless traffic tailbacks or navigating around labyrinthine diversions, we find ourselves asking the same question: “Why does this have to happen this way?”

In partnership with TP Construction, Maxiflow were recently contracted by Cheshire West & Chester to replace the entrance road of Woodford Court, a busy industrial estate in Winsford. The concrete road had suffered from a large amount of abrasion over the years, and it had been rendered defective due to cracks and potholes pitting the length of its surface. Because it was too far gone for a quick repair, we were tasked with removing the concrete from the whole road and replacing it with tarmac.

Woodford Court Lanes

Rather than closing off the entire road for the duration of the works, it was decided that we would tackle it one lane at a time. So, each step detailed below was first carried out in sequence on the right-hand carriageway, before the entire operation was moved across to the left-hand lane. This ensured that access to the estate was possible at all times, minimising disruption for the businesses in Woodford Court.

The first step of this project was to scan the area to check for underground cables and pipes. Even if a site provides us with detailed plans of the area, it is best practice to manually check for utilities to ensure that we know exactly what’s beneath our feet at all times. Using a CAT and Genny (Cable Avoidance Tool and Signal Generator), it is possible to map out an area and detect the presence of utilities to within a couple of millimetres, without digging or otherwise disrupting the ground.

Woodford Court Digger with Pecker

Once it was determined that the area was clear of pipes and cables, the next step was to remove the existing concrete. First, the concrete was broken up by a digger-mounted ‘pecker’ (also known as a breaker). This hydraulic-powered tool is designed to deliver a concentrated impact to a small patch of ground, cracking the concrete and loosening it from its base. Following behind this vehicle was a second digger, which excavated the concrete and loaded it onto a tractor-mounted trailer for disposal.

Woodford Court Animated Digger

After the concrete was entirely removed, the surface underneath was compacted with a road roller. These smaller-scale steamrollers are deceptively powerful, and are capable of compacting surfaces with an operating weight of over 4000 kilograms. However, these rollers are not necessarily designed to leave you with a perfectly level surface along the length of the road. The compacted base was therefore surveyed for any level variances and marked up accordingly.

Woodford Court Stone Laying

To even out the surface, a layer of small stones were laid down as a sub-base. The stones were laid by a tractor, raked into place with the aid of a digger and were then compacted by the road roller. This gravel filled in the marked-up areas and brought the sub-base up to a consistent 200mm below the finish level.

There are a number of manholes along this road, which are in the direct path of traffic. At this point in the project, the metal structures that cap off the drains are protruding from the sub-base. This creates a problem for the machine which transports and lays the tarmac, as it is impractical to navigate around these structures. Therefore, we removed them and laid flat metal plates across the tops of the open drains. These plates were then covered in loose stone.

Woodford Court Tarmac Laying

With the preparatory work complete, the tarmac was ready to be laid. First, a base layer of tarmac was placed onto the sub-base in a heated state and was then raked to an even depth of 100mm. This layer was then compacted with a roller. A second layer, known as a ‘binder’ layer, was then overlaid at a depth of 60mm and consolidated using the roller.

Once the tarmac was set, the lane could then accept road traffic. This half of the roadway was then re-opened and work moved to the other side. The entire process detailed above was repeated, step-by-step, on the second lane. This not only ensured that users of the business park could access their units, but also provided a smaller ‘grid’ to scan for utilities underlying the road.

Woodford Court Tarmac Compacting

Once both halves of the roadway were at the same stage of completion, it was time to replace the manholes. Because the first two layers of tarmac were carefully raked around the drain openings, it was a simple matter to brush away the loose stone and remove the underlying metal plate. The metal manhole structures were then replaced and refitted. The final layer of tarmac, the top course, was then ready to be laid. This tarmac was laid and raked level with the top of the manhole covers, at a depth of 40mm. This top course was then consolidated once again using a roller.

The final stage before completion was to seal all of the joints along the roadway using hot tar. This included sealing together the two halves of the roadway, as well as the small gaps around the manhole covers and drains. With this completed, the project was complete and the road was fully re-opened.

We would like to once again thank TP Construction for their work in bringing this project to completion.

Woodford Court Hot Tar Joints

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