Road projects

Utility Trial Trenching surveys on the Lower Thames Crossing
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Utility Trial Trenching surveys on the Lower Thames Crossing
May 17, 2020
Highways England team in discussion at Countess roundabout

As part of the ongoing surveys for the Lower Thames Crossing, we are now going to start our Utility Trial Trenching (UTT).

This phase of works will begin from this month and will go on until August. Details of the activities and what you can expect can be found below.

These surveys will help us plan utility diversions where they would be required to build the Lower Thames Crossing and will help us to improve our proposals and to develop our application for the Development Consent Order (DCO).

We will be carrying out the works using a vacuum excavator. At times, we will also use hand-digging to ensure safety of the services. The vacuum excavator uses compressed air to loosen or agitate the ground, which can then be removed using the vacuum on the machine.  The two types of methods we will be using are:

Trial Holes – The vacuum excavator is used on both the road and the walkways where an operative will park the excavator in a safe location to carry out the work. If the work is being done on the road, there will be traffic management installed, including full closures or lane closures with temporary traffic lights in place (the detail is outlined below). Where access is needed onto the walkway, a diversion will be in place for pedestrians. Each locations will take between 1 and 3 shifts to complete. We will be doing the majority of the works using this method.

Non-invasive Investigations – In addition to the trial holes, we will be identifying utility features, surveying them and opening chambers. Where possible, these will be completed under the traffic management for the trial hole works, however, in some cases we may need additional traffic management to complete these.

What to expect

Our priority is to carry out this programme of work in a way that will have the smallest possible impact on the community. We have been and are continuing to work with all the relevant Local Authorities to reduce any disruption that may be caused and to obtain the necessary approvals.

  • The works may cause some disruption, but we will ensure that we put mitigation measures in place in order to minimise noise. Due to the nature of the works, there will be flashing lights which are used on our works vehicles for the safety of both the workforce and the road users.
  • All access to properties will be maintained throughout the duration of the works.
  • At times, there will be lane closures with two-way traffic lights in place. This is required for the safety of both the work force and road users.
  • Where it is not possible for us to carry out the works under lane closures, we will have to install road closures. These will be done at night-time only with a fully signed diversion in place. Additional communications will be sent to local residents regarding specific road closures.
  • The working hours will take place during day time between 9.30am and 3pm, Monday to Friday or carried out at night-time in high traffic areas, between 8pm and 6am, Monday to Friday.
  • Please note that the duration of works may not be of consecutive days or weeks.

What’s happening now

Red icons
Trial Holes – The vacuum excavator is used on both the road and the walkways where an operative will park the excavator in a safe location to carry out the work. If the work is being done on the road, there will be traffic management installed, including full closures or lane closures with temporary traffic lights in place (the detail is outlined below). Where access is needed onto the walkway, a diversion will be in place for pedestrians. Each locations will take between 1 and 3 shifts to complete. We will be doing the majority of the works using this method.

Blue icons
Non-invasive Investigations – In addition to the trial holes, we will be identifying utility features, surveying them and opening chambers. Where possible, these will be completed under the traffic management for the trial hole works, however, in some cases we may need additional traffic management to complete these.

What to expect

 

 

Location What to expect Duration Complete
Valley Drive Trial holes 2 days – Day -time
A2 (Wrotham Rd to M2 J1) Trial holes – lane closures 3 weeks – Day / Night-time
Henhurst Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 1 week – Day-time
A226 Gravesend Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 1 week – Night-time
Lower Higham Rd Trial holes – full road closure (too narrow for lane closure) 1 week – Night-time
A2 (Wrotham Rd to M2 J1) Various Slip Road Closures with traffic diverted to the next junction where road users can exit and return on the opposite carriageway 10 days – Night-time
Thong Lane Trial holes – road closure with diversion in place via Gravesend Road, A289 and the A2 3 days + 2 nights
 

 

Location What to expect Duration Complete
Gravesend Rd Lane closures with temporary traffic signals 1 day – Night-time
Brewers Rd Lane closures with temporary traffic signals 1 day – Night-time
 

 

Location What to expect Duration Complete
Stanford Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 1 week – Day / Night-time
Baker Street Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 3 days – Day-time  
Rectory Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 3 days – Night-time
Buckingham Hill Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 3 days – Night-time
Heath Road Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 3 days – Day-time
M25 J30-28 Trial holes – lane closures 1 week – Night-time
B187 St Marys Ln Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 1 week – Night-time
Fort Rd/Gun Hill Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic lights 3 days – Night-time
Ockenden Rd Trial holes – lane closures with temporary traffic light 10 days – Day-time
B186 North Rd Trial holes – full road closure 8 days – Night-time
Brentwood Rd Trial holes – full road closure 3 days – Day / Night-time
Hoford Rd Trial holes – full road closure 3 days + 1 night
A127 @ J29 Trial holes – full road closure 2 days – Night-time
Princess Margaret Rd Trial holes – full road closure 3 days – Night-time
Station Rd Trial holes – full road closure 5 days – Night-time
Muckingford Rd Trial holes – full road closure 3 days – Day / Night-time
 

 

Location What to expect Duration Complete
B186 North Rd Lane closures with temporary traffic signals 1 day – Day-time
Stifford Clays Rd Lane closures with temporary traffic signals 1 day – Day-time
Hornsby Ln Temporary restrictions where traffic may be held for up to 15 minutes (waiting times will be minimised where possible) 1 day – Day-time
Stanford Road Lane closures with temporary traffic signals 1 day – Day-time
Brentwood Road Lane closures with temporary traffic signals 1 day – Day-time
A13/A1089 Junction Trial holes – slip road closure with traffic diverted to the next junction to return on the opposite carriageway 1 day – Night-time
Folkes Ln Temporary restrictions where traffic may be held for up to 15 minutes (waiting times will be minimised where possible) 1 day – Day-time
  • Utility Trial Trenching surveys 2

  • Utility Trial Trenching surveys 3

  • Utility Trial Trenching surveys 4

  • Utility Trial Trenching surveys 5

  • Utility Trial Trenching surveys 6

 

Media enquiries

 

For Lower Thames Crossing media enquiries, journalists and other media representatives should contact Highways England’s press office

 

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