Fugro conducts surveys for Highways England and Transport Scotland

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Netherlands-based geotechnical services provider Fugro has started scanning the strategic road network (SRN) to gather structural pavement condition data as part of a three-year contract with Highways England.

Fugro’s TRASS 3 (Traffic Speed Structural Survey) agreement is HE’s largest ever outsourced contract for pavement structural condition data and is valued at £1.3m (US$1.6m). The asset integrity specialist has been carrying out TRASS work for HE since autumn 2014, and has collected and processed data on pavement strength from slip roads and Lane 1 of England’s SRN.

The current work involves data collection from Lane 2 using HE’s Traffic Speed Deflectometer (TSD), a 20-metric ton articulated survey truck that assesses the structural condition of road pavements using state-of-the-art, contactless Doppler laser technology. Having achieved a faster survey rate than anticipated for the first half of the slip roads program, Fugro enabled network-wide completion in the same year. This accelerated the delivery of TSD data to HE England to support the assessment and planning of slip road maintenance.

Integrated collection of ground penetrating radar (GPR) data across all 8,700 lane-miles (14,000 lane-km) of England’s primary roads provides a continuous record of pavement structure and thickness. The TSD and GPR data will be fed into HE’s Highways Agency Pavement Management System (HAPMS), enhancing the ability to monitor the condition of pavement assets, prioritize maintenance, and improve cost forecasting. The GPR data will be used to interpret deflectometer readings, and for quality control and analysis in HAPMS. The progressive technology replaces traditional surveys carried out at walking pace, with a fully automated, computer controlled process working at traffic speed of 50mph (80km/h). As well as improving safety and survey rates, it brings improved repeatability and quality control to pavement strength assessment.

Fugro has also secured a second contract for ground investigations on Transport Scotland’s (TS) landmark project to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness. Worth in excess of £1.2m (US$1.5m), the package of geotechnical investigations will characterize ground conditions along a 9-mile (14.5km) section between Tay Crossing and Killiecrankie within the southern part of the project. Under the 23-week contract, which has just started on-site, Fugro will carry out exploratory drilling and sampling in soil and rock in situ, and laboratory testing and environmental monitoring.

Geotechnical specialists from Fugro’s UK offices will mobilize boring and drilling rigs, and using offsite laboratory capabilities drawn from the company’s integrated global resources. To accommodate the varying geology, a combination of cable percussive, sonic, and rotary drilling techniques will be used, along with wireline logging to assess downhole properties.

As with the previous contract, site logistics and methods are being carefully planned to meet complex access and traffic management challenges, with strict consideration for the local ecology and parkland environment. The Scottish government aims to dual 80 miles (129km) of the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025, at a cost of £3bn (US$3.7bn) in one of Scotland’s most challenging infrastructure projects to date.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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