M4 works compound aerial photo
December 2016
March 2022
M4 junctions 3 to 12

VGC is heavily involved in the £848 million capacity upgrade of the M4 motorway.

M4 smart motorway worksOur teams are working on all aspects of the project including vegetation clearance, enabling works on the verges, drainage, structures, concreting the temporary crash barrier and work on the central reservation. Teams will later move to installation of cats eyes, tarmac, cabling and ducting as well as structural builds including formwork and steelwork for gantry and bridge bases.

As well as skilled trades and labour, VGC has provided the administration, technical and engineering staff.

Almost all of the people we’re providing on the project are local, living along the M4 route.

A number of our people have been promoted on the project. They include:

Phil Dooley
Phil Dooley, section foreman
  • Phil Dooley, promoted from earthworks ganger to section foreman
  • Daniel Paladescu, promoted from general operative to ganger
  • Vasile Dinga, promoted from groundworker to ganger
  • Catalin Vatafu, promoted from driver to multi-skilled operative
  • Krzysztof Linkiewicz, promoted from dumper roller driver to earth works ganger
  • Florin Saghina and Amarpreet Singh, promoted from ganger to earthworks ganger
  • Iulian Fartade, promoted from groundworker to multi-skilled operative
  • Callum Lambourne, promoted from plant vehicle marshal to ganger
  • Manjinder Takhar, promoted from dumper / roller driver to ganger
  • Harmanpreet Gir and Nicolae Ciprian Cercel, both promoted from plant vehicle marshal to groundworker.

We are supporting the project with safety training.

face-fit testing
Christian has his dust mask checked in face-fit testing

HSQE adviser Ben Keegan carries out monthly face-fit testing on site.

A recent session included people from Balfour Beatty, Danny Sullivan, Fortel, Hercules and Zone as well as VGC. Face-fit checks make sure dust masks (respiratory protective equipment or RPE) fit properly, to reduce the risks from dust and particulates.

The test involves the worker putting on the mask as usual, and then putting a hood over the top. Then Ben sprays a chemical into the hood: it is very bitter but not harmful. If the mask fits properly, the worker won’t taste it at all. If they taste it, Ben can teach them how to fit their mask properly for when they’re on site around dangerous dust particles.

HSQE manager Richard Wheeler, supported by labour manager James Andrews, delivers regular traffic marshal safety training to operatives on the project.

Richard Wheeler delivering plant-vehicle marshal training to operatives on the M4
Richard Wheeler delivering plant-vehicle marshal training to a member of Zone workforce, supported by with labour manager James Andrews driving

The training is open to all operatives, from other labour suppliers Zone, Danny Sullivan and Fortel, as well as client and VGC people. The more aware people are of safe behaviour around plant and vehicles, the less likely there is to be an accident. Fiona has made a video about plant people interface and keeping safe around vehicles.


VGC Projects facilitated key vegetation clearance along the route, and assisted with testing an innovative prefabricated emergency refuge area. Working offsite, we installed a test slab at a site in Gloucestershire, trialling a new modular unit technique which is expected to save considerable time and money on the project.

M4 junction 3 Windsor Bridge trial holes
Windsor bridge trial holes

Eleven bridges over the motorway need to be replaced to make room for a new lane where there is no existing hard shoulder, and four more will be widened. VGC Projects carried out deep trial hole investigations to confirm the size of the Windsor bridge foundations before widening works.

This Highways England project will improve the M4 by making it a smart motorway.

The M4 carries an average of 130,000 vehicles a day, and this section of the motorway is frequently congested. New signs and signals will be used to vary the speed limit to reduce congestion at busy times. They will also control traffic if there is an obstruction on the road ahead. In the longest smart motorway project in England to date (51km), the motorway will be widened to four lanes in both directions. The hard shoulder will be removed and there will be adjustments to slip roads and motorway intersections between junctions 3 (Hayes) and 12 (Theale).

New signage and smart technology will enable proactive management of the motorway in the event of heavy traffic or accidents.

The project is being managed by a JV of Taylor Woodrow, Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Balfour Beatty.

Read more on the Highways England website.