A14 Huntingdon - Cambridge project
Start
March 2016
End
December 2020
Client
A14 IDT (Integrated Delivery Team) working on behalf of Highways England
Location
Cambridgeshire
VGC contract value
ongoing

Highways England’s £1.5 billion scheme to improve the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon will see 21 miles of this major route upgraded to three lanes in each direction.

Integrated labour team

In a ground-breaking initiative, VGC is working in partnership with supply chain partners Reliable Contractors, Danny Sullivan Group and Hercules Site Services to form an integrated labour team (ILT), which supplies appropriate labour resources to the project. “We went through a very challenging tender process,” said Chris Ryan, operations director. “It started with a comprehensive pre-qualification questionnaire, then we were audited, including a behavioural assessment. It was all remarkably thorough.”

Considerate Constructor's Scheme award
Considerate Constructor’s Scheme Collaboration award

In July 2019 the project won the Considerate Contractors ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Fairness, Inclusion and Respect’ awards as well as the 2019 ‘Ultra-Site of the Year‘ award.

The ILT collaboration was recognised with the Innovation award at the A14 Supply Chain awards in January 2018, and was shortlisted for a Highways England ‘improving employee engagement’ award in January 2019. The IDT won an Institute for Collaborative Working award in December 2018.

Key roles

James Burke
Labour manager James Burke

Our labour manager on the project, James Burke, leads the ILT. Our ‘Be Safe by Choice’ key influencers are Baljit Singh, Ionut Roman and Rishi Khera.

We support apprentices on the project. In November 2018 there were 78 apprentices across the A14: that’s over 25% of the workforce.

Ionut Roman
Key influencer Ionut Roman
Rishi Khera
Key influencer Rishi Khera
Baljit Singh
Key influencer Baljit Singh

Together the ILT partners manage a diverse workforce of more than 300 people. Their labour desk deals with client orders, submits reports and liaises with works managers and general foremen on the four sections of the A14 project.

Our workforce started by digging the trial holes early in the project, and then moved on to:

  • logistics for site welfare
  • concrete pours for road foundations and signalling gantries
  • laying pipes for drainage for the new roads.

Workers also assist the MOLA Headland archaeologists on the project. We protect the dig areas, where the researchers have already excavated a number of Stone age tools and Roman remains. Our teams also help by removing spoil from these dig areas. They have been taught to recognise archaeological indicators, and are helping to ensure that artefacts are not destroyed by accident during earthworks in other parts of the site.

Vasile Mihai
Vasile Mihai

Awards

Ganger Vasile Mihai won ‘observation of the month’ in March 2019 and was commended again in September 2019 for environmental observations.

Adam Ali
Adam Ali

Multi-skilled operative Adam Ali won an environmental award in June 2019. When he saw that a sweeper was leaking fuel, he stopped the driver, so it didn’t spread any further, and instigated the spill protocol.

In October 2019 the section 4 maintenance team won A14 ‘above and beyond’ awards for the way they look after 48 welfare units “to a very high standard, with a smile”. Mandeep Sandu (Danny Sullivan Group), Kamal Mehmi, Krishan Chand Sharma, Cosmin Roman and Stelica Enache (VGC) were presented with gift voucher: “You are a credit to the project.”

Mandeep Sandu, Kamal Mehmi, Krishan Chand Sharma, Cosmin Roman, Stelica Enache (with Charlie Challan, Mark Golding and Eric Milne)
Mandeep Sandu, Kamal Mehmi, Krishan Chand Sharma, Cosmin Roman, Stelica Enache (pictured with Charlie Challan, Mark Golding and Eric Milne)

Fairness, inclusion and respect

Our HSQE team has delivered presentations on fairness, inclusion and respect (FIR) to the workforce.

These included a presentation on avoiding offence and using language to make people feel included. When people feel included they work better, the job is easier, and the site is safer as well as happier.

They also deliver regular safety training and toolbox talks.

Richard Wheeler delivering a language talk on the A14
HSQE manager Richard Wheeler delivering a FIR toolbox talk to the A14 section 1 gangs

The UK’s biggest road upgrade

Our clients on the project, Costain, Skanska and Balfour Beatty, with designers Atkins and Jacobs (was CH2m), make up the A14 integrated delivery team, known as the A14IDT. The A14IDT is working on behalf of Highways England to deliver the scheme.

The project includes widening seven miles of this key arterial route in each direction. There is also a new 17-mile bypass south of Huntingdon, and a new junction at Swavesey. There will also be a new five-mile local access road, allowing local communities betweeen Huntingdon and Cambridge to avoid using the A14. 34 bridges and structures are being built as part of the scheme, including the new 750-metre long River Great Ouse viaduct.

By the end of 2017, 2.5 million cubic metres of soil had been moved to create foundations for the road and junctions.

David Bray, Highways England’s A14 project director, said: “The improvements we are delivering between Cambridge and Huntingdon are vital for the local area and for the country’s economy.”