Addressing significant environmental constraints and affects to a national park and the River Avon special area of conservation
When National Highways needed to widen the westbound A31 from two lanes to three, we were brought in to collaboratively deliver the detailed design and environmental services with VolkerFitzpatrick. The objective? Safely widen the segment between the Ringwood and Verwood junctions and remove and reconstruct two bridges over the River Avon and Bickerley Mill Stream. However, this project would include significant environmental constraints associated with these watercourses as it runs alongside the South Downs national park and special area of conservation.
A true multidisciplinary effort—our technical design, bridges, archaeological, landscape, ecological design, acoustic, air quality, and environmental management teams worked to obtain a range of consents. Proximity to the River Avon meant working with the Environment Agency, Natural England, and the local authority to minimise the ecological impact on the local habitat and address construction challenges. In particular, wildlife considerations, including salmon migration as well as otter and bat mitigations, were successfully navigated—achieving zero harm and a net gain to biodiversity.
Detailed building information modelling (BIM) and 3D/4D modelling helped the overall design coordination, including critical service clash detection, a constructability review, and visualisation for stakeholders and the construction team.
With this extensive road widening project—a part of the Regional Delivery Partnership—the A31 segment at Ringwood and Verwood will improve safety and provide more capacity to improve journey time reliability for the road user without negatively impacting the surrounding environment.
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