Sprint represents a key element of delivering an integrated, environmentally friendly transport network for the West Midlands by creating a network of uninterrupted bus priority routes across the region.

Passengers using services that operate along the Sprint corridors benefit from the delivery of new and extended bus lanes, with Sprint buses receiving priority at traffic lights. This is intended to improve the speed of services travelling between stops and could potentially cut journey times by 20% at peak periods.

Phase 1 of the Sprint project was required for completion in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr. The A34 route is part of Birmingham’s Strategic Highway Network and provides links to key routes including the M6 (connection at junction 7) and the A4540 ring road that circulates Birmingham City Centre.

McPhillips were appointed to carry out the following works; upgrading of new junctions, (incorporating revised traffic signals), new Sprint bus stops to accommodate new style buses, widening of existing carriageway, site clearance, earthworks, fencing, drainage, kerbs, footways and paved areas, traffic signs and associated electric works, bus lane enforcement cameras, street lighting and carriageway plane and relay.

The challenges

The layout of the carriageway and associated speed limits vary along the route.

A very busy local environment including schools, a court, local businesses and residential properties.

The A34 is a main route into and out of Birmingham with very heavy traffic flows, particularly in rush hours.

The majority of works were carried out on or near a live carriageway.

Existing services within excavation areas.

Birmingham was hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games at various locations including the nearby Perry Barr Stadium, therefore, the project had to be completed before the event commenced.

The solutions

A traffic management strategy was produced by McPhillips with the aim of keeping disruption to the public to an absolute minimum.

Detailed planning of the works to enable sufficient working space whilst still maintaining pedestrian and vehicular flows.

Close contact / regular meetings with the all stakeholders and statutory undertakers.

Out of hours working utilised during weekends and nights to minimise disruption.

Detailed safe systems of work for excavating around existing services. The use of vacuum excavation provided a quicker solution in certain areas whilst also lowering risk of damage to existing services.

The result

Through extended working hours across evenings and weekends, effective planning and close liaison with all stakeholders, the site team were able to complete the primary objective of completing the works before the Commonwealth Games commenced. The works have much improved public transport flow through areas of congestion.

McPhillips’ Site Manager Chris Overton commented: “Although significant challenges were encountered during the project, they were successfully dealt with by working in a collaborative manner, which resulted in a successful scheme with a high-quality end product”.

For more information on other McPhillips’ civil engineering projects visit: https://www.mcphillips.co.uk/civil-engineering/

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