The A303 is a major trunk road in Somerset, providing a vital connection between the South West, London and the South East, and used by millions of people for business and leisure every year.
Galliford Try started work in September 2021 to upgrade more than three miles of existing single carriageway to dual carriageway. The scheme, which is near Yeovil, aims to reduce congestion, improve journey times and make the network safer for road users.
The work site, between Sparkford and Ilchester, is located on a stretch of the A303 that is accessed by a number of single track roads. The construction plan required heavy plant routes to move material around the site and it was recognised early that a number of heavy plant crossing would be needed on these local roads.
Initially, temporary traffic lights were set up at the plant crossings, but it was immediately realised that local driver behaviour demanded a more robust solution to keep both site operatives and road users safe.
Galliford Try identified a number of innovative products in the market that could help and set about finding the most effective hard engineering solution to the problem.
Following advice from leading vehicle restraint system (VRS) experts at Hardstaff Barriers, it was decided that a physical barrier would also be used in addition to the traffic signals.
The SentriGate traffic control gate was recommended as the ideal solution, to provide a visual and physical reminder to drivers that they may be approaching a red traffic signal.
SentriGate is a solar-powered, remote-controlled and lightweight mobile gate that can be easily deployed by just a single person.
It incorporates a key-fob so that the gate can be operated remotely up to 50 metres, or 150 metres with a long range fob, allowing operators the ability to control vehicle access from a distance.
SentriGates were installed on heavy plant crossing on multiple single track roads, including Steart Hill, Downhead Road and Higher Farm Lane.
Galliford Try noticed an immediate and obvious improvement in local driver behaviour. They received great feedback from operators of the heavy construction plant and were given peace of mind that everything had been done to make drivers aware of the hazards and reduce the risks to as low as reasonably practicable.
Chris Hill, Project director for Galliford Try, said: “A safe construction site is our highest priority. As soon as the SentriGates were installed, we saw immediate improvements at the plant crossings. Local traffic flowed better, construction operatives were reassured and the risk of an incident happening was reduced significantly. The SentriGates were just what we needed here.”