Leading civil engineering firm Jones Bros is on schedule as it constructs an extension to one of Europe’s largest wind farms, despite severe weather and technical challenges.
Siemens turbine deliveries have begun at the 54-turbine Clyde wind farm extension in Scotland where 90 per cent of the preparation work is now complete.
The100-strong workforce, which is made up mainly of labourers and drivers from surrounding areas, has completed 29 kilometres of tracks to allow heavy plant machinery to travel across the site.
They include young apprentice Dylan Morris who is now operating a Jones Bros’ concrete batching plant after undergoing specialist training provided by the family firm.
Project workers are constructing the majority of crane pads at the site, located between Biggar, Abington and Moffat.
Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK is delivering balance of plant as part of a joint venture with the project’s civil contractor Balfour Beatty on behalf of SSE, one of the UK’s biggest power generators.
Earlier this year progress was slowed by poor weather conditions, while a geological fault recently saw Jones Bros working round the clock to create a huge turbine base 24 metres in diameter – the length of four badminton courts and five metres deep.
To create the base, concrete had to be continually poured for 15 hours, using Jones Bros latest, state-of-the-art Simex concrete batching plant.
Garod Evans, project manager at Jones Bros, said: “The geological fault was discovered when we began excavating the earth to put the crane pad in place.
“Working to a design provided by SSE, we poured concrete and reinforcements continually for 15 hours, with two shifts working on it. It is probably the biggest turbine base we have ever built.
“We now have just eight turbine bases to complete and the turbines themselves have begun arriving at the first three arrays of bases.”
Of the 80 machine drivers employed at the site, 60 per cent come from surrounding areas, as do 70 per cent of the 20 labourers.
“Workers recruited locally have been benefiting from training and development, learning news skills that they can take with them when this project ends,” added Garod.
Investment in the area includes more than £20m of long-term support for community projects from the community benefit fund.
Clyde Extension could contribute as much as £121m to the Scottish economy during the construction phase and is expected, on average, to support around 500 jobs in Scotland through supply chain contracts.
Founded in the 1950s and employing 350 people, Jones Bros has grown significantly in the last decade. It is currently working on contracts including the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence, and renewable energy projects around the UK.