We often talk about using crane mats and temporary access roads to overcome challenging ground conditions on a particular construction site, or along the route vehicles and equipment needs to take to get there.

But on large sites undergoing intensive redevelopment, the work itself can transform the landscape, making it even more important to use crane mats to spread the load when machinery is placed on top of earthworks that are not yet fully settled or compacted.

For example, in the ongoing work currently taking place on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, the future A1270, 1.2 million cubic metres of earth has been excavated, with over 11,500 tonnes of this used to build crane platforms, piling mats and other on-site structures.

Other excavations on the site include more than 400 archaeological trenches, about a third so far of the 33km of drainage that needs to be installed, and a protective lagoon in the vicinity of Wensum Valley.

The junction with the A140 Cromer Road is ‘grade separated’, meaning the A140 crosses the A1270 on a bridge, with major construction work needed to build the slip roads and embankments here, while a further seven bridges and a bat underpass also form part of the project.

On any ambitious scheme such as this, heavy machinery is a must to keep work on schedule and to move the vast amounts of earth that must be relocated, but safety is also of paramount importance.

Crane mats give a more reliable ground surface by spreading the pressure of heavy vehicle tyres and tracks over an even wider area – they can be used on wet sand in tidal areas, which gives an idea of their suitability on recently moved soil that has not yet been compacted down.

And on transport infrastructure projects in particular, temporary access roads are an ideal way to provide safe routes to the interior of the site for works vehicles, until the new finished road surfaces are poured.

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