logo for UK Construction Blog

Blog Details

Hear About the Latest News on Darlington Redevelopment, Sizewell Nuclear Facility, M4’s Needed 14 Bridges and Displaced People, and a Construction Worker Committing Suicide

Enjoy reading the latest news here. The first is regarding the redevelopment of Darlington, UK. It is anticipated that the renovation of the Darlington railway station will be finished by the end of the year 2024. Meanwhile, the authorities have issued a warning that the new nuclear reactor that is supposed to be constructed at the Sizewell site in Suffolk could face significant challenges with regard to funding and construction. In addition to that, the individual who was in charge of the project has been reflecting on the difficulties that were encountered throughout its completion, including the construction of fourteen bridges, the crossing of a river, and the discovery of a coal seam. On the other hand, when Chris Wiles finally decided to seek assistance at work, he had already given up hope that the gloomy clouds that so frequently surrounded him would eventually lift.

Darlington Redevelopment, UK

Original Source: Darlington Railway Station Redevelopment, Darlington, UK

Darlington railway station is a Grade II listed structure in Darlington, Durham County, UK. It is the origin of passenger railways. It connects London, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and other places to the Tees Valley on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

The station is being renovated to meet anticipated train service increases and relieve congestion at a cost of about £100 million ($130 million).

Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) is redeveloping with Darlington Borough Council, Network Rail, and LNER (LNER).

Planning was presented in June 2021 and approved in October 2021. Preparatory work for the destruction of the station’s structures began in August 2022, allowing redevelopment to begin.

It’s part of the Darlington 2025 plan to strengthen the economy and create jobs. It is intended to be finished by December 2024, in time for the Darlington Railway’s 200th anniversary celebrations in 2025.

Details of the redevelopment

The Darlington station’s capacity is affected by north-south ECML and east-west Bishop Line operations. Station crossing movements hinder the ECML path. The existing infrastructure inhibits the station’s ability to serve local and future high-speed services as the ECML is planned to be connected with the HS2 network.

The reconstruction project involves a new station structure on the eastern entrance with three additional platforms to serve new rail services and increase rail capacity by more than 300%.

A concourse with a waiting, ticketing, and retail area will be built. The Victorian-style station building will be rebuilt as part of a preservation and redevelopment master plan.

A multi-story parking structure, transit interchange and cycling facilities, landscaped pedestrian zones, a new footbridge into the station building, and Neasham Road changes will also be included.

The west side of the station will get a pedestrianised concourse, a redesigned parking lot, and a new road plan to improve pedestrian safety.

The pickup and drop-off areas, the western parking lot, and the Victoria Road entrance will also be renovated. The west side upgrades will add a second entrance.

The Darlington Borough Council will develop the land east and west of the station.

Financing

The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority contributed £25m ($32.6m) to the project’s anticipated cost of £100m ($130m).

The remaining funds are from the federal government.

Redevelopers of Darlington Station

Napper Architects designed the makeover.

Infrastructure consulting firm AECOM is working with BAM Nuttall on the station refurbishment.

TGA, a design and consulting firm, was hired by Darlington Borough Council to work with Willmott Dixon on the project. TGA will upgrade the current building’s lighting, engineering, and heating.

Willmott Dixon will develop a £35m Railway Heritage Quarter, rehabilitate the station building, and add a live engineering shed and experience building with a café, public realm, parking lot, and play area.

Arup, a UK-based professional services organisation, created the masterplan for Darlington Station.

Redeveloping Darlington Station

The new station will improve ECML service, minimise wait times, and boost public transit use, making Darlington a regional transportation centre. It will accommodate eastbound local and London-bound services and increase local train capacity while accommodating new high-speed services on the ECML.

The project will boost freight linkages, attract new investment, and create well-paying jobs.improve freight services in Teesport and the Tees Valley, County Durham, and North Yorkshire.

Sizewell nuclear facility risks being dismantled owing to the UK’s energy problems

Original Source: Sizewell nuclear plant risks being scrapped as UK faces ‘long winter’ due to energy crisis

Sizewell C nuclear power station would provide 7% of the UK’s energy. French nuclear powerhouse EDF and China Nuclear Group each hold 80% of the project.

It has been praised as a green energy alternative to pricey fossil fuels that are causing an energy crisis with sky-high prices. The facility will take years to construct, so it won’t affect bills in the immediate future.

Concerns have been raised concerning the project’s French company, EDF. According to Bloomberg, the company owed €42.8 billion (£37 billion) at the end of June.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said in July that EDF would be nationalised, with the government buying 14 percent of the firm it didn’t already control.

In light of the ongoing energy crisis, numerous analysts questioned the viability of the new Sizewell plant.

University of Sussex Science Policy Research Unit Associate Fellow Paul Dorfman is a nuclear technology expert.

He stated that after the winter, EDF may lose interest in establishing a nuclear project in the UK, especially as Europe is facing its own energy problems.

He remarked, “EDF is significantly in debt – effectively insolvent, with big waste and decommissioning expenditures on the horizon.”

“Currently, half of all French EDF reactors are offline, many with maintenance and corrosion safety issues.” “All of this pushed the French government to nationalise EDF.”

This winter will be long in energy and politics. “It will be a cold winter. What if France needs all its power for Paris and can’t send it to the UK? How will that go over with UK people and policy, and may it damage Sizewell C?”

What if France says, “We have so many nuclear issues, we don’t want to commit to the UK?” Already this week, the EDF Board declined to accept Johnson’s Sizewell C contract. Are they hesitant to take on additional debt for another UK project when they have their own troubles at home?

Dr. Dorfman was alluding to sources who said the French journal Le Figaro EDF’s board of directors voted against the government’s negotiated decision to build the reactor at Sizewell.

However, BEIS told Express.co.uk, “We remain in active negotiations with EDF about Sizewell C.”

The Sizewell C project would be sponsored by EDF and the government. Private investors would provide another 60% of the money, while China General Nuclear Power would reduce its stake to 20%.

According to Dr. Dorfman, the current market won’t “touch nuclear power with a barge pole.”

A portion of the construction will be funded through the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) module, which would see consumers pay a premium on their energy bills for the plant.

The premium is anticipated to be minimal, a couple of pounds a year during initial construction, and the government reckons it might save £30 billion on the plant’s cost.

RAB hopes to attract more investors by reducing the plant’s risk.

Finally, EDF may run over budget and late during Sizewell C development.

The EDF Hinkley Point C project is delayed and £8billion over budget. Sizewell could incorporate lessons from Hinkley Point C, making the project run smoother.

Sizewell C’s future is uncertain as EDF and the government negotiate a deal amid the energy crisis.

The tiny part of M4 that required 14 bridges and displaced people

Original Source: The small section of the M4 that took 14 bridges to build and forced people out of their houses

If you were travelling via Swansea to west Wales 50 years ago, you may have hit a traffic bottleneck on the A48 in Morriston. A big engineering project would change that.

On Sept. 16, 1972, a 4.5-mile road from Lon Las to Llangyfelach opened north of the A48. It required 14 new bridges, including one over the River Tawe, and the diversion of utility lines. It cost $4 million.

In the mid-1930s, the Secretary of State for Wales devised a plan for a northern Morriston bypass. Swansea City Council, the Welsh Office, and others built a new M4 portion.

Henry Steane, the project’s chief engineer, has an incredible memory. The 92-year-old said things could have been different.

Mr. Steane was working on the M1 for Hertfordshire County Council when Swansea came up. I fancied it and asked my supervisor, ‘Swansea?’ Where’s Swansea?’ Then Hertfordshire. He answered, ‘I know, it’s coal.’

“I took a train on a rainy Sunday for a Guildhall interview on Monday.” At Landore, there were fires, blast furnaces, chimneys, and smoke. I thought the world was ending!

It was his first trip to Swansea, so he assured himself he wouldn’t take the position if offered. “I was early for the interview the next morning, so I walked to the bay,” he said. I thought it was a new world.

Since 1966, Mr. Steane has lived in Swansea with his wife, Patricia. His first highway project activities were recruiting a team of engineers, examining the A48 pinch-points in Morriston, and factoring in the river, railway, canal, pylons, oil pipelines, and industrial buildings the new route would pass over or under.

A soil survey, topographical survey, and contract to blast rock and erect a new embankment between the River Tawe and Clydach Road followed. The second contract is to upgrade and realign side roads.

The bypass route necessitated the purchase of 24 properties, including a garage, a Sunday school, and a tavern. John Laing Construction won the job based on price. Mr. Steane answered, “You make a schedule of work, itemise it, and produce a bill of quantities.” They give you a price for each item. We check it, then you decide.

Mr. Steane’s duties as chief engineer include reviewing John Laing Construction’s survey markings and coordinating monthly payments. He hosted public gatherings to answer residents’ questions. He remembers no great opposition. “A48 traffic worried people.”

The project took three years and was completed on schedule and on budget, but Mr. Steane said he argued about “a few thousand pence” at the end. Digging into a coal seam involved carrying the black substance to a National Coal Board depot in Bridgend and removing flooded apparatus when the Tawe overflowed.

The new freeway has two lanes and a hard shoulder in each direction, plus a westbound “crawler lane” from Ynysforgan because of the grade. When asked if he was the first person to drive on the new freeway, he shook his head and stated, “We did it all the time; it wasn’t exciting anymore!”

When I asked Mr. Steane how thick the new road was, he pulled out a pen and paper and used engineering terminology like vertical shear and discontinuity. He counted six layers as he worked. He stated gravel, a base, dry lean concrete, and three bituminous layers, the top asphalt. Two feet, he said, problem solved.

A coach was hired to take councillors up and down the city’s new northern bypass from the Guildhall. Mr. Steane wore Wellington boots outside, leaving his cherished kangaroo leather shoes on the sidewalk. When we returned, the shoes were gone – someone got a decent pair.

The new Morriston bypass was opened by the then-Welsh Secretary, Peter Thomas. Mr. Steane said the vandalised stone was transferred to a salt barn in Clydach.

The engineer retired from West Glamorgan County Council in 1990. He and Patricia, the medical director of Morriston and Singleton hospitals, have a daughter, a son, and three grandkids.

Mr. Steane of Mayals said two members of the 15-person council team that drove the road project are still in Swansea. “We had lunch,” he continued.

Covid restricted Mr. Steane’s mobility, but he remembered the thrill and fun of the endeavour. When asked how it felt to finish the project, he said, “Very rewarding.”

Every day, two construction workers commit suicide; my husband was one of them

Original Source: Every working day two people in the construction industry take their life – my husband was one of them

He suppressed his inner struggle, fearful he would be seen as a failure by his wife, Michelle, and their two children.

The committed family man was stressed when a project approached a new phase, but he was reluctant to communicate with his line managers.

24 April 2019: Chris commits suicide.

Michelle sends the message that while it’s too late for her family, others with troubled minds should reach out early.

“Chris’s narrative is about early intervention,” she says.

It took Chris around three months.

We realised he couldn’t sleep, and it got worse over time.

When you don’t sleep, your brain malfunctions.

Chris told us early on that he was struggling with his job, but he was unwilling to notify his employer.

We wish he’d spoken up sooner.

Michelle describes the Chelsea fan as devoted to her and their children, Chloe and Tom.

While he told his family about his anxieties, they didn’t know that two construction workers in the UK commit suicide every day.

Michelle, 47, from Luton, only now realises how early intervention at Chris’s work may have helped.

She says, ‘Our life was great.’ Chris has never had mental health difficulties before.

He was nice, witty, and a huge Chelsea fan. He was ordinary and unique.

Chris had a crisis.

“We’d been married for 20 years and had two children, but I’d never seen him suffer like he did those last three months.”

We attempted to help, but he should have told his boss.

Chris, 48, has worked in construction for 30 years, starting in school and rising through the ranks.

He was famous and accomplished.

He was the breadwinner. He worked 12-hour shifts and never complained.

He didn’t want to declare, “I’m suffering with this project,” at work.

He’d be a failure in his eyes.

We attempted to help, but he should have told his boss.

Chris, 48, has worked in construction for 30 years, starting in school and rising through the ranks.

He was famous and accomplished.

He was the breadwinner. He worked 12-hour shifts and never complained.

He didn’t want to declare, “I’m suffering with this project.” at work.

He’d be a failure in his eyes.

Michelle, Chloe, 23, and Tom, 20, have spoken out about a taboo subject to encourage others not to conceal it at work.

Mates in Mind, which has helped 650 organisations, will display messages today outside Reading train station.

Suicide rates have risen to pre-pandemic levels after fewer male fatalities and disruptions to coroners’ inquests in 2020.

According to ONS data, 2021’s 5,583 deaths are similar to 2019 and 2018.

The Samaritans urge a new national prevention plan to reduce ‘worrying’ suicide rates, especially amid the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Workplaces are important to Michelle.

She feels Chris’s story will resonate with construction workers.

It’s OK to speak out and recognise the indicators in your workers, coworkers, and yourself.

Since we shared his tale, individuals have said, “That was me.”

Every company should offer mental health training to all employees, not only construction companies.

‘After the pandemic, they should prioritise it.

‘If Chris can do it, anyone can.’

Summary of today’s construction news

In today’s construction news, because of the new station, the ECML service will be enhanced, wait times will be reduced, and public transit usage will increase. As a result, Darlington will become a regional transportation hub. The initiative will improve freight connectivity, entice new investment, and generate positions that offer competitive salaries.

In addition, the EDF Hinkley Point C project is behind schedule and has run up an $8 billion cost overrun. The knowledge gained at Hinkley Point C might be applied to the Sizewell project, making it more efficient overall. In the midst of the ongoing energy crisis, EDF and the government are currently in the process of negotiating a deal that could affect Sizewell C.

Furthermore, if you were heading to west Wales via Swansea fifty years ago, you might have encountered a traffic jam on the A48 in Morriston because of the construction of the M4. That would be different after a significant engineering project is completed. Henry Steane, who is serving as the project’s main engineer, possesses an exceptional memory. The 92-year-old person stated that things might have turned out differently.

Moreover, as a result of fewer male fatalities and interruptions to coroners’ inquests in the year 2020, the rate of suicide has increased to levels comparable to those seen before the pandemic. Training on mental health should be provided to all employees by every organisation, not just those in the construction industry.