Day Two at Civils 2005 was opened by Highways Agency board members Steve Rowsell and Keith Miller with a Consultant 100 Breakfast Club briefing to senior industry figures and local government clients.
Procurement director Rowsell and major projects director Miller told the specially invited audience that the Agency needs the industry's help in securing the future of its ten year transport plan by finding effi ciencies.
Rowsell added that it was down to the industry to impress on political decision makers the need for clarity in the forward programme.
The duo also revealed how high occupancy vehicle lanes are set to become a feature on the M25 motorway when the remaining three lane sections are widened to four.
In the conference theatre Highways Agency divisional director Richard Eastman continued the congestion theme by telling delegates how the Agency's traffi c officers will be vital in clearing up incidents faster.
Congestion is also a major issue for local roads, said Department for Transport head of traffic management Mike Talbot, outlining changes afoot through the new Traffi c Management Act.
And conference delegates heard how the rail industry is on the up from Department for Transport director of rail projects Graham Dalton. 'We have an operator in Network Rail which has demonstrated an ability to do the job and we are going through a period of unprecedented investment, ' Dalton said.
But Network Rail major projects and investment director Simon Kirby warned that he was looking for price reductions from framework consultants and contractors on capital projects in return for assured workload.
Later Transport for London director of rail development Peter Field set out 30 projects he believes the capital needs to ease congestion.
The schemes range from extending the Bakerloo Line to Watford, increasing rail capacity in the Lea Valley, using existing Network Rail track, and extending platforms at Waterloo and stations in south west London.
London nderground infrastructure projects engineer Mike Gellatley closed the conference by describing plans to run groundwater through heat exchangers to cool temperatures currently reaching up to 31ºC in some tunnel sections.
It was standing room only for Civils 2005 visitors eager to hear how London's east-west Crossrail project will contribute £60bn to Britain's gross domestic product over the next 60 years. But Crossrail head of public affairs Bernard Gambrill ruled out completing the project in time for the 2012 Olympics.
Piling specialist Pennine set out how it is pushing for foundations work on the 2012 Olympic site with an innovative pile design.
Its 'Penpile' foundation is a concrete displacement pile that produces little or no spoil and can achieve required bearing capacities at up to only half the depth of CFA pile alternatives, principal geotechnical engineer Ondrej Synac said. This makes the system suitable for contaminated sites.
Civils visitors sitting in on the technical seminar given by Sean Elson, health and safety lawyer for Kennedys, heard how the Hatfield trial will set a precedent for big fines for health and safety prosecutions but that proposed changes to the corporate manslaughter law will not result in more prosecutions. 'The government knows there is a clear danger that if it goes too far the industry will go risk averse and nothing will get done.'
Continuing the health and safety theme, CITB Construction Skills head of health, safety and the environment Kevin Fear told a packed technical seminar how civil engineering degrees lack adequate health and safety training. 'When [students] are learning about structural stability and how to make sure the building doesn't fall down, they should also be learning how they are constructed, maintained and demolished.'
Corus formally launched its revolutionary new Vetec corrugated steel safety barrier to a packed audience. It was told that new European safety barrier standards had allowed Corus to develop an alternative to the standard Highways Agency tensioned steel barrier design which incorporates more than 300 components.
In contrast the untensioned Vetec system uses only 30.
Atkins Rail's Nicholas Chamberlain was named NCE Graduate of the Year. And a team from Arup won the NCE Communications Competition by placating a feisty 80-strong audience over proposals to regenerate the East End of London. Parsons Brinckerhoff with Northern Ireland Road Services came second and Peter Brett Associates came third.