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Resurfacing rounds off M25 widening saga

SUBSTANDARD POROUS asphalt surfacing on the beleaguered junctions 7 to 8 section of the M25 at Reigate is being ripped up and replaced this week as the final chapter in the widening contract's four year history.

Blacktop subcontractor Amey last Saturday started replacing 2km of the material on the westbound carriageway after it failed porosity tests last year. Work requires the carriageway to be restricted back to three lanes during the day and to one lane overnight.

Main contractor Laing finished its troubled widening contract in March 1997, nearly two years later than expected. Laing is thought to be close to reaching final settlement on the £46M job, now believed to have cost around £90M.

Problems included the need to remove around 60,000m2 of poor quality chalk capping, followed by the replacement of around 21,000m3 of hot rolled asphalt after it suffered severe rutting in the hot summer. The Highways Agency picked up the bill for this latter problem and introduced its new wheel tracking tests and performance specification on the back of it (NCE 30 November 1995).

However, the Agency insisted that the contractor will be paying for the porous asphalt problems after consultant Parkman' tests showed it to be out of specification. Cones should finally be off the motorway after final night-time junction work on 30 June.

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