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Maerdy Mountain Road scheme wins national engineering award

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s significant repair and improvement scheme on the Maerdy Mountain route last summer has been awarded a prestigious national award for outstanding engineering achievement.

The substantial work took place from July to September 2017, undertaking significant stabilisation of the mountain following a landslip caused by severe weather in winter 2015/16 – affecting 150m of road at the Aberdare end of the route. The Council’s contractor for the works was Alun Griffiths Ltd.

Taking advantage of a necessary full road closure, improvements to future-proof the entire Maerdy route were also undertaken thanks to significant funding through #RCTinvest – including the resurfacing of the whole 6km road.

The project was since nominated for an award in the prestigious Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Wales Cymru Awards, which take place each year. The Maerdy project was entered in the Roy Edwards Award category, for the best example of outstanding design and construction of a project under £3m.

Having been judged on three criteria – excellence in concept, planning and design, and contract and construction – the Maerdy project was announced the Award winner at a ceremony in Cardiff on June 15.

In total, the Maerdy scheme included:

  • The installation of 140 metres of reinforced concrete beams to strengthen the area which the landslip occurred.
  • Piling works over 140 metres, to stabilise the mountainside.
  • New drainage works installed on the mountainside and in the highway.
  • New RAMWALLs fitted to hold back the hillside.
  • New crash barriers installed on both sides of the mountain.
  • 6km of road re-surfacing from Maerdy to Aberdare.

The scheme also included a range of improvements to the safety of the route following a successful bid for Welsh Government Road Safety Funding Grant – such as hazard markings, road re-marking, new reflective roadstuds and measures to reduce the potential for standing water.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said:

“I welcome the excellent news that the Council’s major scheme in Maerdy last summer has been recognised for its engineering excellence – having been commended for all aspects of the project from pre-planning to design, originality, benefit to the community and delivery.

“Thousands of commuters between Aberdare and Maerdy, on this vital Rhondda-Cynon Valley gateway, are now benefitting from the work carried out last summer. It reflects the significant investment the Council continues to commit through #RCTinvest to maintain, improve and ultimately future-proof our Highways network as one of the Council’s biggest assets. More that £20m was invested in 2017/18, as part of £91m funding over the last seven years, and this is set to continue into 2018/19 through a further £23.6m.

“The Maerdy scheme was hugely challenging to deliver, both in terms of the complexity of the work and the small time scale for delivery – and working closely with our contractor it was an excellent achievement. I’d once again like to thank everyone involved in the delivery of this important project.”