Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK has used an innovative technique to construct a concrete water channel as part of its works on a major highway in North Wales.
The firm has bypassed the traditional pre-cast concrete units to lay a concrete canvas, which is up to ten times faster.
The process involves engineers unrolling and fixing an 8mm canvas into place and hydrating the material with water to start the curing process.
Once set, the material forms an impermeable fibre reinforced concrete layer which provides erosion protection and minimises the need for future maintenance. It is just as strong and stable as the traditional method.
Jones Bros is working on a £22m Welsh Government project to improve safety and reduce the flooding risk on a 2.2km stretch of the A55 between the Tai’r Meibion property and the Abergwyngregyn interchange.
The family firm has laid more than 1,700m of concrete canvas, which requires 6 litres of water per m2 to complete the hydration process.
The product has proven popular across the world and is starting to be used more on projects in the UK. It has been supplied by South Wales-based company Concrete Canvas.
Jones Bros site agent Elliot Bidmeadsaid: “The product has saved us a lot of time and has the same results as the traditional pre-cast concrete units method.
“Another benefit has been that we can install it in wet weather conditions, which would normally disrupt programme schedules using more traditional methods of channel lining.
“We believe it’s the first time Jones Bros has used concrete canvas on a project and that it’s one of the first times it has been used in North Wales for this type of application.
“It’s fantastic that the client has approved its use and we’re hopeful we’ll use it on more projects going forward.
“The works have progressed ahead of schedule and using the concrete canvas has gone smoothly.”
As part of the scheme, Jones Bros has undertaken the translocation of a 1,200m hedge, as well as surfacing work.
Jones Bros contracts manager Elgan Ellis said: “We have had a tough time with bad weather earlier in the project but the team have done a fantastic job.
“As we have progressed, we have also encountered additional works that needed carrying out including additional drainage measures.
“After the junction at Glyn Farm was completed, we have progressed on to ditching and drainage works to take water from the south side of the A55 to the existing culverts which will eventually be upgraded as part of the main scheme.”
Phillip Greer, head of sales at Concrete Canvas, said: “We’re currently manufacturing more than 20,000m2 of concrete canvas per week to meet growing demand.
“With 85 per cent of our material exported, it’s been a real pleasure to see a locally sourced Welsh product being used closer to home.
“We’ve been very impressed with the quality and workmanship of Jones Bros on its first concrete canvas installation and look forward to working together on more projects in the near future.”
The A55 is the main North Wales coastal route and is part of Euroroute E22 Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). It is also an important link, via county roads, for local towns and communities and provides a connection with the North – South A470 to south and central Wales.
Founded in the 1950s and employing almost 350 people, Jones Bros has grown significantly in the last decade. It is currently working on contracts in various sectors including the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence and renewable energy projects around the UK.
For more information about Concrete Canvas, visit www.concretecanvas.com.