Gallagher gets bit between its teeth to avoid more motorway misery

With Kent’s road users frequently suffering the effects of Operation Stack, the team at Gallagher Group came up with a novel solution to avoid further traffic chaos at Junction 6 of the M20, near Maidstone, during the construction at Brooklyn Park for Scania.

Brooklyn Park is surrounded by roads on all three sides, including the M20 to the south, motorway slip roads to the north and west, and Chatham Road A229 to the east.

As a result getting services such as water, gas and electricity to the site from the south of the M20, would have involved significant road closures and inevitable traffic congestion caused by digging up the slip road under the M20.

Gallagher’s solution was to undertake 90 metres of directional drilling under the M20, thereby avoiding any closure of the motorway slip road running past the Audi dealership, which would have caused further delays for Maidstone road users.

Nick Yandle of Gallagher Properties, said: “Our team’s proposal was welcomed by KCC Highways as it avoided road closures, however it entailed months of planning.

“Highways England, which has responsibility for the M20, although helpful and cooperative, understandably required chapter and verse on the method and route to ensure no problems were caused to this important motorway.

“The phrase: where there’s a will there’s a way, defines Gallagher’s approach to everything we do. Thanks to our team the travelling public never knew the work was being undertaken to keep Kent’s traffic moving and at the same time help secure new jobs for Maidstone.”

Gallagher researched the original motorway construction drawings, and carried out radar surveys across the carriageways to identify structures and services, such as drains, power and data cables.

With all the necessary research, design and approvals finally in place, Gallagher’s specialist contractors embarked on drilling two 450mm diameter ducts under the motorway, for gas, water electricity and drainage.

The exercise started in late June and was completed early July, ironically delayed by Operation Stack as the authorities prevented work during its implementation.

The process of directional drilling involves a rig sending a 125mm diameter pilot bore across to the other side, a distance of 90m. The route across the motorway is tracked to within +/- 50mm using locating equipment.

A 350mm reamer is then attached to the drilling rods along with the services and the rig pulls back the services along the line of the pilot hole, expanding the hole in the process.

Now successfully completed, Brooklyn Park can be connected to services.

It will enable Scania to move into a new depot, workshop, as well as sales and management offices, towards the end of 2015, bringing 35 new jobs to the borough.