A major project to build a new multi-million pound junction on the A24 near Horsham has been described as a ‘flagship scheme’ for the company undertaking the works.
The County Times was given an exclusive tour around the site on Friday where civil engineering company Breheny has been building a new grade-separated junction since June 2014, a project which is due to be completed by the end of 2015.
Two roundabouts and a new road bridge have been built over the A24, which will link the new developments either side of the dual carriageway after the existing A264 Broadbridge Heath bypass is downgraded and reconfigured.
The project will also see new slip roads connecting the new junction with the Farthings Hill roundabout, and has already seen the construction of a new footbridge which will replace the current one.
It is being commissioned by Countryside Properties and Berkeley Homes who are currently building homes either side of the A24, with everything agreed by the highways authority West Sussex County Council.
Richard Cottee, who is overseeing the works as contracts director for Breheny, described it as a ‘flagship scheme’ for the company and added: “It’s a great opportunity for us. It’s a high profile job for us.”
Breheny is a family-owned company with a high level of staff retention, as some of the staff on site have worked for the business for more than 30 years. At their busiest Breheny can have around 60 members of staff working on the project with two compounds, one in Countryside’s site and another in Berkeley’s.
Richard explained: “Our company ethos is we deliver and we do the work ourselves. It gives us a greater degree of flexibility.”
He explained that the embankments on either side of the road will require around 200,000 tonnes of clay by the time they are finished, equivalent to about 2,000 wagon loads of material.
When they built the road bridge Breheny required a 1,000 tonne crane to lift the 23 precast concrete beams, which make up its backbone and are pre stressed, into place.
The 21 internal beams weighed 42 tonnes, with the two on the edge weighing 89.5 tonnes. Once in place nearly 500 tonnes of concrete went on to the bridge before a protective and then road surface was put down.
“Everything is planned to very very strict standards,” Richard added.
Since June the A24 has been restricted to a single lane in each direction with some night closures to enable works such as lifting the bridge beams into place.
The new blue footbridge itself was delivered to the site in four sections, is 58.6 metres in length, three metres wide, and weighs 92 tonnes in total.
It was lifted into place earlier this week just north of the existing footbridge.
The project will now see landscaping on the embankments on either side of the road, with the slip roads due to be completed later this year.
Breheny have regular progress meetings with the county council with an ‘extremely stringent process’ needed including method assessment and risk assessments needed to be produced before any work on site can go ahead.
Richard described getting a ‘buzz’ from seeing projects such as this one come together, and hoped once completed it would serve as a good asset for the town.
For more information visit the project’s website.