|Durham County Council||Villa Real Bridge Realignment||NEC-Project Management|
/ Site Supervisor
Elvet Construction Consultants were appointed as the NEC Project Manager and Site Supervisor to deliver the £2.4m Villa Real Bridge Realignment project on behalf of Durham County Council.
The infrastructure scheme involved removing the dilapidated Victorian railway bridge and realigning the road to create a new two-lane highway between the villages of Leadgate, Villa Real, and Consett. The new road layout allowed traffic to flow in both directions to ease congestion and boost the local economy.
The Victorian railway had closed in the 1980s and the tracks were removed to form the coast-to-coast cycle path. The road above narrowed to cross the bridge, creating a bottleneck for drivers as traffic could only flow in one direction at a time. Over the next 30 years’, the railway bridge fell in to disrepair and closed fully to all traffic including pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles in 2015.
The project involved:
- demolition of the bridge to remove future maintenance concerns and existing weight restrictions.
- construction of 0.5 kilometres of new or improved and side road junctions
- realigning the road to allow two-way traffic
- construction of a 3.5-metre-wide path for pedestrians and cyclists, whilst maintaining the C2C route
- installing new traffic management
- providing crossing islands for pedestrians and cyclists
- replacing the path that ran under the bridge
- landscaping improvements to the embankments
- providing bus laybys
Villa Real Bridge Realignment was the first project delivered through the Clients framework using the NEC suite. The project was delivered using NEC Option B.
All major utilities were affected by the proposed works, which required extensive liaison with the statutory authorities to ensure that local businesses and residents were not impacted by the works.Elvet worked collaboratively with DCC to overcome key challenges including the industrial history of the site and contaminated materials that were difficult to dispose of.
The scheme attracted extensive interest from local people and businesses. Elvet met regularly with DCC and the public to communicate progress, this included a film distributed in the local press.
We provided support and guidance to the clients internal employees advising them on how to deliver the project using the NEC contract. This included sharing our standard forms and templates used to administrate the contract and sharing best practice that the client could adopt to deliver their own projects.
Durham County Council obtained the British Standard 11000: Collabortive Business Relationship prior to the contract being awarded. Villa Real was selected as the first project to be delivered using the new management system to promote collaboritve working with external businesses. Elvet worked closely with DCC’s internal auditors to ensure that the standards were incorporated into the project. It was our responsibility to capture the necessary evidence during the project for the internal and external accreditation body. Where we acted as the primary contact, the scheme passed external assessment without any non-compliance issues.
Due to the importance of completing the utility diversions the client placed the order direct with the statutory authorities rather than passing the risk to the main contractor. Unfortunately, one of the providers could not commence their package of works within the necessary timeframes, which meant the overall project was delayed by at least 6 months. We entered extensive negotiations with the main contractor in accordance with the NEC guidelines to agree a fair compensation event for both parties to ensure that the scheme remained financial viable.
Elvet worked closely with Durham Country Council to develop the management tools to implement, monitor and capture the evidence necessary to comply with their BS1100 accreditation. This has been applied to other projects following the successful delivery of the Villa Real scheme.
Another unforeseen risk was a remnant of the former industrial legacy of the area, with coal and other organic matter found within the existing embankments coupled with the fact that tar was found within the existing road construction. This placed a significant financial risk on the project as to dispose of the material off site would cost over £2m. Working closely with remedial experts, the main contractor and design team an alternative solution allowed the material to be retained on site without impacting on the overall project objectives.