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AI help pave the way at East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport

Bardon Hill Quarry supplies 55,000 tonnes of high-spec aggregates for major runway resurfacing project
LAST November (2016), East Midlands Airport closed for five consecutive weekends to allow a major runway resurfacing operation to take place.

The project marked the first time that a UK commercial airport had implemented full shutdowns across multiple weekends to allow large-scale surfacing work to be carried out, with airport bosses deeming it the ‘best way to avoid major disruption’ prior to the Christmas period.

During the works, approximately 55,000 tonnes of aggregates were laid on the 2.9km runway, which serves airlines including Ryanair, Flybe and Jet2.

Colas, who had been appointed as special surfacing contractors by framework contractors Galliford Try, called on the services Aggregate Industries for the supply of materials – both businesses having worked together on resurfacing works at Manchester Airport in 2011.

Through early engagement and drawing on previous learnings, Aggregate Industries adopted a partnership approach with Colas, at the core of which was surety of supply of the vast quantity of materials needed.

To produce the tonnages required, Colas procured and established three on-site mobile asphalt plants that were in operation simultaneously – all of which needed a continuous supply.

With Bardon Hill Quarry having the capability to produce 1.5 million tonnes of high-quality aggregates for surfacing solutions annually, Aggregate Industries were able to deliver a stockpile of 800–1,000 tonnes per day, every day, from the 2 September through to the 5 November works launch date.

The specialist Beton Bitumeux Aeronautique (BBA) asphalt material use on the project called for four different aggregate blends: 11,500 tonnes of 8/14mm granite, 9,200 tonnes of 6/10mm granite, 10,000 tonnes of 3/6mm granite and 13,200 tonnes of 0/4mm CRF granite.

As well as ensuring that the materials exceeded the strength, flake and skid values required for the project, Aggregate Industries were also able to deliver one aggregate material per day to minimize the risk of loss/contamination on site, whilst operating a stringent quality procedure to ensure there was no risk of contamination on the delivery wagons.

Logistically, this approach to delivery provided another significant benefit for Colas. With Bardon Hill Quarry situated just 13.2 miles from the airport, Aggregate Industries were able to arrange last-minute deliveries in line with Colas and project requirements.

This included the supply of additional vehicles at short notice during the second weekend of works, which allowed Colas to keep the project on track and minimized potentially costly downtime. Ultimately, by working in partnership with Aggregate Industries, Colas completed the project ahead of schedule, within just five weekends.

Craig Lennon, senior project manager at Galliford Try, said: ‘I would like pass on my thanks to Aggregate Industries for providing wagons during weekend-two works, which was vital to keeping the project on schedule. This was above and beyond the requirements of Aggregate Industries, and helped us to complete the programmed works and ensure the runway was reopened ahead of schedule.


‘I am sure this relationship will continue as we commence works on Doncaster Airport this year,’ he added.

Gareth Pugh, regional director at Aggregate Industries, commented: ‘Having worked with Colas on the runway resurfacing at Manchester Airport in 2011, we were able to apply our learnings to ensure an even more robust approach to aggregate supply on this project.

‘By working with Colas at the inventory stages, we were able to put in place a stringent plan to ensure continuity of supply without disruption and to make any last minute changes, ensuring that Colas had the exact technical and quality specification of aggregate as and when they needed it.’


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