Built in the face of unprecedented protests and media attention, Newbury Bypass was a project that could not be backed away from.
The bypass forms the last link in the main route from the Midlands to the south coast. Mitigation of the road's effects on the environment required its designers and builders to pay even more attention to wildlife than to structures, soil compaction, drainage, sub-base and the porous asphalt surfacing of the road itself.
Thousands of trees are still being planted to soften the swathe that was cut around the western side of Newbury within the 14km long wire-fenced enclosure erected to help prevent reoccupation by the 250 eco-warriors who had to be evicted before construction started. Strenuous efforts to make use of all unsuitable excavated material within the site for bunds and landscaping, minimised the amount of construction traffic entering and leaving the site.
Now the road is completed, it is hard to appreciate the scale of some of the work that went into creating it. For instance, 6m deep excavations were required to create replacement wetland sites now lush with plants and thronging with animal life.
Costain Civil Engineering
R Stebbings Environmental Consultancy
CA Blackwell: earthmoving