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A50 machines working close to home

Digger Blogger | 11:02, Mon July 31 2017

The JCB publicity machine didn’t have to look too far for this case study. A fleet of their crawler and wheeled excavators is beavering away on a highways project just metres from the factory where they were built.

Derbyshire-based earthmoving specialist, JC Balls & Sons is working for a Carillion-Tarmac joint venture on the A50 Growth Corridor Project A, constructing a grade-separated junction on the A50 dual carriageway to the west of Uttoxeter.

JC Balls has a mixed fleet of equipment on the project, including three 22-tonne JCB JS220 crawler excavators, a 36-tonne JS370, a wheeled JS175W and a 57C-1 compact excavator. Other machinery includes a JCB 714 articulated site dumper and a JCB VM115 soil compactor.

JC Balls bought one of its JS220 excavators specifically for the A50 project – equipped with an Engcon E226 tilt-rotator and the Engcon Positioning System. This is being used in combination with a Trimble 3D machine control system.

Machine operator Jamie Chappell said: “For digging corners on batters it’s a lot easier. The machine is really comfortable and with the Engcon I can get more work done before repositioning.”

This performance and productivity boost has been echoed by contracts manager Dane Potts, who has had to revise some of the planned works on the projec, to incorporate the machine’s increased productivity.

“Around 90% of our machinery on the project is already equipped with GPS machine control and we have found that it can cut the time on site almost by half,” he said.

“GPS-guided machines have helped eliminate the need for ground operatives to walk along steeper batter faces to check for levels, which not only saves time but is a far safer method.

“Tricky construction details are made easy by a simple level adjustment on the GPS controller. The combination of GPS with the Engcon tilt rotator is working really well and I’ve certainly noticed a difference in productivity. We’ll definitely be having more tilt rotators on our machines.”

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The Tarmac-Carillion joint venture is main contractor for the £43m Staffordshire County Council project. Supervised by Amey, the scheme is creating three new roundabouts, two to the south and one to the north of the A50 dual carriageway. These have been joined by a new bridge structure and there will be extended slip roads to ease congestion on this busy trunk road.

The project will provide improved access to a housing development and to new employment sites to the west of Uttoxeter.

Six 47-metre long steel bridge beams were lifted into place across the A50 during July 2017, resting on piers that have been constructed using 210,000 tonnes of pulverised fuel ash (PFA) from the nearby Rugeley Power Station.

Around 30,000m3 of existing material has been stabilised with the addition of lime, to provide increased structural properties and to reduce the amount of soil that has had to be taken from the site.

McGovern Crane Hire supplied its Liebherr MK88 truck-mounted tower crane (pictured above) to help out on bridge works but the real heavy lifting work was done by a nine-axle Liebherr telescopic all-terrain, as shown in the time-lapse video below.

The project is expected to be completed by November 2018.






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