National Highways lends a hand to the engineers of tomorrow in Staffordshire
08 Nov 2023
Engineers of the future were able to see how National Highways and its team ensures smooth and reliable journeys on the A38 in Staffordshire.
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National Highways is this week celebrating its inaugural Communities Week, running from Monday to Friday, which aims to throw a spotlight on some of the work being carried out to support the wellbeing of communities living near its roads.
To help mark the occasion, National Highways delivery partner Carnell recently hosted pupils from a school in Staffordshire with a special site visit designed to enhance their knowledge of maintenance and construction.
The youngsters were able to look at several pieces of machinery and equipment which is currently being used for drainage works, lighting, and traffic management on the A38.
Caption: Youngsters were able to look more closely at plant machinery used in construction projects in a special cordoned off area of the construction site.
National Highways has carried out a programme of vital work on the A38 including resurfacing the carriageway, clearing vegetation, renewing safety barriers, drainage systems, upgrading street lighting and road markings.
The improvements have also included upgrades which will make maintenance easier and less disruptive in the future such with the installation of new safety barriers. The design means less disruption for motorists when repairing or replacing parts of the barrier because it will be easier to swap out a damaged stretch of barrier in one visit.
Major A-roads managed by National Highways make up around 58 per cent of the strategic road network across the country which helps to connect people to places and supports economic growth.
For thousands of businesses, A-roads are essential to their commercial success and growth, and they depend on them for sourcing workers, receiving supplies and making deliveries.
Caption: The youngsters find out more about repair activity on the A38 in Fradley, Staffordshire.
National Highways Regional Director in the Midlands, Andrew Jinks said: “The event in Staffordshire was a great opportunity to engage with the budding engineers of tomorrow and we’re pleased to hear they enjoyed the day. We know that events like this will go a long way towards encouraging people to consider a career in construction and it also offers youngsters an opportunity to ask questions and find out more about what we do as an organisation alongside our contractors.
“The inaugural Communities Week activity is really important to us at National Highways because we are committed to working alongside local communities living alongside our road network to support health and wellbeing.
“Whether it is supporting educational visits such as the one in Fradley or helping to restore green spaces with some TLC, we are keen to make sure we can benefit those living next to our road network and will continue to invest in our social fund to make sure that happens.”
Elsewhere in Rugby, volunteers from National Highways have also been getting their hands dirty by helping the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to tidy up land.
A total of ten volunteers mucked in over two days as Ashlawn Cutting nature reserve to rejuvenate scrubland by clearing it of weeds and cultivating the soil. The work has been done to help create new wildflower grassland areas.
These grasslands are valuable areas for wildflowers and associated pollinator species, especially butterflies.
Studies have also shown that well managed grasslands can trap and hold in the ground more carbon than the equivalent area of scrub or woodland.
Caption: National Highways volunteers working to clear scrubland in Rugby.
National Highways Senior Design Engineer, Leon Cole volunteered over the two days. He said: “We know that helping nature to flourish is a key priority for National Highways so this opportunity was a fantastic way to inject a new lease of life into some land which needed some tidying up. The new grassland areas will attract butterflies and pollinator species which means that the ecosystem will benefit from this activity.”
The activity comes after it was revealed that more than £220,000 is being invested this year in local projects which will have a positive impact on communities alongside National Highways’ roads network.
National Highways recently published its Delivering Social Value Annual Report which measures for the first time the work carried out by the company and its supply chain in local communities.
National Highways launched its first Social Value Plan in October 2022 to frame the company’s commitments to local communities.
More than 50 suppliers signed up to the plan and this year some £220,000 was spent through the regional social value fund.