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Step-by-step automated bollard installation at Quarry Car Park in Chester

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

In a previous blog post, we detailed our installation of a bollard at Abbey Square Gateway. In addition to this high-profile project, Maxiflow were also contracted to carry out the excavation and installation of a new automatic bollard system at Chester’s Quarry Car Park, in partnership with MACS Bollards.

Quarry Car Park is a small, private parking facility off Northgate Street, and is owned by Chester Cathedral. The entrance was previously regulated by a rising barrier arm, which unfortunately proved to be a prime target for vandals.

Faced with the costs and wasted time associated with repairing and replacing the barrier, the Cathedral decided to take a different approach and implement an entirely new automatic bollard system.

Maxiflow diagram of the new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

The diagram above maps out the area where the new system was installed, and the following points of interest are labelled in the images below:

  1. The bollard itself
  2. The safety induction loops
  3. The control cabinet
  4. The status lights and access control post

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

The first task involved excavating a trench for the bollard (A). The bottom of the trench was bedded with gravel, and the sides were lined with concrete and cement to give the bollard maximum strength and stability. The bollard itself is housed within a hydraulic mechanism, which enables it to rise and fall smoothly.

To allow for the electrical connections and sensors to be laid along the ground, the existing roadway surface had to be stripped away on either side of the bollard.

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

During the planning stages, it was noted that ducting installed for the previous barrier arm system could be re-purposed for the bollard. The location marked at (C) connects to the ducts and was chosen to be the site for the bollard system’s control box.

The empty bollard housing (A) in the above photograph demonstrates that the bollard itself is a separate element. If damaged, the bollard can be removed without dismantling the rest of the system.

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

After smoothing the base, an initial layer of tarmac was laid to protect the underside of the induction loop cabling (B). This cabling is pressure-sensitive and is used to detect the approach and departure of vehicles.

This is an important safety feature, as it ensures that the bollard does not rise up underneath a vehicle. This could damage both the bollard and the vehicle and potentially endanger the driver. Induction loops are a smarter alternative than having the bollard rise and fall on a timer, as it allows for greater flexibility in relation to traffic tailbacks and cars breaking down or stalling at inconvenient moments.

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

Once the induction loop cabling is laid and connected, another layer of tarmac on top forms the new road surface.

Authorised drivers can raise and lower the bollard by using a keycard or keycard with the control post (D). The post displays two clusters of 25 LEDs which light up green or red to give a clear visual cue to drivers when it is safe to pass through.

Maxiflow installing new bollard system at Quarry Car Park in Chester

With the control post, control box and and bollard in place, the system is complete and ready for use. We would like to once again thank MACS Bollards for their work in bringing this project to completion.

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New automated bollard system at Abbey Square Gateway

Visitors to Chester are spoiled for choice when it comes to taking in our breathtaking historic attractions. From the top of the Roman city walls down to the Castle, Chester packs a lot into a modestly-sized space – which doesn’t leave a lot of space for parking in the city centre!

Residents and businesses in Abbey Square, off Northgate Street, were growing increasingly tired of opportunistic drivers parking in their spaces. The convenient cut-through to the Frodsham Street supermarkets and lack of pay-and-display parking fees in the square proved too tempting for many visitors.

Abbey Square is part of the Chester Cathedral grounds and is home to many residents, including the Bishop of Chester. The square is intended to be a semi-public space, providing multiple shortcuts through the city and housing an attractive green space in its centre.

The desire to preserve this space for visitors, while also restricting vehicle access to the area, lead to Chester Cathedral and Cheshire West & Chester council‘s decision to install an automated bollard system at the entrance to the square. We at Maxiflow were contracted to take on the task, in partnership with MACS Automated Bollard Systems Ltd.

Simple diagram of Abbey Square gateway bollard placement

Abbey Square’s primary vehicle entrance is the Abbey Gateway, the front of which faces Chester Town Hall. The Gateway is a Grade I listed building constructed circa the 14th century, its beautiful architecture and red sandstone standing as a portal to the city’s past.

The new bollard system was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, in order to preserve the Gateway’s aesthetics. A lone bollard stands in the centre of the cobbled roadway and it is lowered by activating the reader on a nearby control post. The entryway is flanked by a pair of wooden posts, narrowing the profile of vehicles which can access the square.

Maxiflow’s groundworks team dug pits for the bollard and control post and excavated trenches in the road and surrounding paths. These works involved careful removal of sets of cobbles from the road surface and storing them for re-use. Our drainage consultants advised in laying a bed of pea gravel and installing ducting around all apparatus to protect against ingress of rainwater. Our electricians supplied MACS with the power feed for the control tower, in addition to the induction loops.

After installation of the bollard and control post, the pits were backfilled with concrete and all cobbles were replaced in their original positions. The kerbs, flags and the York stone wheelers (the flattened paths that offer tyre protection against the cobbles) were also relaid, or replaced with their closest matches.

Maxiflow would like to thank MACS Automated Bollard Systems Ltd for their work in bringing this project to completion.

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