Completion of Two Key University Schemes Brings Improved Access and Visual Enhancements

Fitzgerald Contractors have successfully delivered two vital civil engineering projects at University of Warwick with works taking place in a live campus environment, and continues the company’s ongoing presence at the university where we have been delivering vital highway and public realm schemes since 2015.

The new Academic Square public realm works, valued at over £400,000, involved the replacement of the existing access road and footbridge into Academic Square, and the diversion of the existing stream through a new precast concrete culvert to form a new high-specification public realm plaza.

The increased volume of east / west pedestrian movements across the university campus created the need for enhanced pedestrian links and visual amenity in order to retain the university as one integrated campus. Situated at the centre of the existing campus, Academic Square has created an important social and academic focal point for the university community.

The live nature of the works during term time necessitated meticulously planning and close coordination with the University of Warwick team in order to maintain pedestrian access throughout the campus and to ensure that pedestrians and vehicles were fully segregated from our working areas. One of the key challenges identified at preconstruction stage was devising a construction methodology that mitigated noise, dust and vibration, as well as the challenge of carrying out our works adjacent to a live existing watercourse.

Fitzgerald Contracts Manager Steve Jones commented: ‘Our early planning involved extensive watercourse management and biosecurity mitigation measures with the need to control and divert stormwater discharge and maintain its full flow capacity. This was achieved by installing a temporary flume running parallel to the main works and extra drainage connections into the proposed culvert, whilst we also implemented measures to eliminate the potential risk of watercourse contamination. I’m immensely proud of our team’s execution of the works which is all the more pleasing due to its delivery taking place in a live campus environment.’

 The second scheme successfully delivered by the Fitzgerald team was the creation of a new 4-arm roundabout on the existing Leighfield Road at the Warwickshire side of the university campus. With a contract value of over £900,000 the junction access works provides the additional road capacity to accommodate the increased vehicle and pedestrian volume to the new university Sports Hub.

The original client requirement was for two phases, with one section of the road adjacent to the Sports Hub being closed and for the works to be completed prior to beginning the next phase. In close coordination with the University of Warwick our constructability advice resulted in the methodology changing from a two phase programme to one shorter phase – all whilst we maintained full pedestrian and vehicular access to both the halls of residence and the new Sports Hub.

Accelerated site activities involved constructing all of the carriageway widening and drainage in advance utilising 3-way traffic management, and as works finished utilising the new widened area to divert traffic around the newly constructed roundabout.

Fitzgerald Contracts Manager Morgan Courtney said: ‘Our team’s detailed and flexible construction programme underpinned the successful completion of this logistically challenging scheme due to the requirement to integrate significant design development into our construction programme. The whole team pulled together and massive credit must go to all involved for delivering the works safely, considerately and completing the works ahead of schedule.’