Eurovia Contracting, experts at delivering highways and infrastructure schemes, is paving the future using an array of new technology to increase safety, productivity and quality assurance on paving and surfacing contracts. A recent contract, renewing the road surface on the A505 Offley bypass near Hitchin in Hertfordshire, was used to trial their new process, equipment and material in real-world conditions. The heart of Eurovia’s new process is the Automated Quality Assurance (AQA) service developed and provided by MATtest Southern, a material testing and consultancy business. Eurovia is trialling AQA which promises to deliver cost reductions, improved health and safety for the work crew and improvements in paving and compaction quality. AQA will also assist users in meeting BIM level 2 and beyond. The process manages digital data drawn from several sources and produces ‘automated construction summary’ reports in user friendly formats.
On the A505 site, where up to 600 metres of a single carriageway were renewed in a night shift, the AQA process pulled data from the asphalt paver, the BOMAG intelligent roller, the Tarmac asphalt plant, and the trucks delivering the hot rolled asphalt (HRA) to site enabling real-time performance updates whilst the work was progressing. MATtest also provided their App for measuring the spread-rate of pre-coated chippings. MATtest Southern use their high-speed survey vehicle to check the surface quality and texture depth after surfacing. The team then have access to all the data and reports to assess and measure the renewal process from end to end. ROAD-SPEED SURVEYING, using one of MATtest’s vehicles, checks the road’s surface quality and the texture depth after surfacing and completes a grip test. The specially equipped vehicles can also record high-definition video of the surface. One of the advantages of this system is that traffic management isn’t required. The survey is conducted in regular traffic at road speed. The health and safety benefits of working in this way are also significant. Conventional testing is potentially hazardous and often conducted by lone workers. AQA takes workers away from potentially hazardous situations and places them in the safety of a survey vehicle.
When a contract is planned to use the AQA process the ASPHALT PLANT uses a ‘virtual ticket’ system. As a loaded truck leaves the weighbridge a virtual ticket is sent to the HDS server and Apex system. As soon as a load of material crosses the plant weighbridge, AQA is sent an electronic ticket equivalent to a conventional paper ticket. The data is also sent to the paver so that the gang can see the ticket information on eLoad, the materials management component of AQA. The ASPHALT PAVER is a critical piece of equipment in the process. It is equipped with a very accurate GNSS system, supplied by MATtest, which generates a ‘geo-fenced’ area around it which can sense other equipment and trucks on-site. The paver is also equipped with three accurate asphalt temperature sensors which continuously measure the temperature of the material as it passes through the hopper and screed.