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A249 Smart Working

Description of Works
FM Conway has been delivering a £12 million, ten-year operation and maintenance contract with Sheppey Route Ltd on the A249 in Kent. Sheppey Route Ltd is the Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) contractor that manages the road on behalf of Highways England.

Encompassing the Sheppey Crossing, it is an important transport link for residents and businesses and the main option for traffic travelling from the Isle of Sheppey towards the M2, M20 and beyond. With 30,000 drivers using the A249 each day, a streamlined and efficient approach to its maintenance and upkeep is vital.

Services used on this project Aggregates & Asphalt Surfacing Highways Maintenance
Delivering Innovation

One year into the partnership, collaborative working between the contract’s key stakeholders and an innovative approach to delivery has been critical to meeting the needs of the public. Following a major incident on the route, one of FM Conway’s first tasks has been to improve safety measures. 

Tom McConnell, Senior Contracts Manager at FM Conway, explains:
“Working closely with Highways England and Sheppey Route Ltd, we installed average speed cameras along the A249 between Grovehurst and Queenborough to improve safety for drivers. We refreshed the road markings on the Crossing, increasing the length and width of the centre lines to give drivers better visibility in adverse weather conditions."

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Thanks to FM Conway’s self-delivery approach, we were able to deliver the works inhouse in less than a fortnight, using the combined expertise of our term maintenance and surfacing teams to drive cost and time efficiencies.

Tom McConnell – Senior Contracts Manager at FM Conway
Challenges and Solutions

The A249 passes close to wetlands of international importance, a national nature reserve and sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), posing challenges for the delivery of highways work:

“Due to environmental restrictions imposed by the sites close by, the delivery team had to be respectful of local wildlife. Night works, for example, aren’t permitted during the bird nesting season from March until July,” says Tom. “This presented challenges for the safety upgrade works – the installation of the average speed camera equipment had to be carried out during the day, meaning that the team had a reduced working window.

“The A249 DBFO Team works with numerous departments within FM Conway to overcome difficult situations like this, such as implementing a convoy system for white lining renewal carried out in mid-2017. Due to the lack of a suitable diversion route and the A249’s importance for drivers, the team could not close the relevant section of carriageway using lane closures. 

“Convoy working is a complex approach, which requires expert communication on site to make sure the travelling public and our workforce are kept safe at all times. Thanks to the coordination between our teams, we were able to complete the works, both safely and with minimal disruption for the travelling public.”