Support services provider May Gurney has launched a nationwide surface treatments business to deliver cost effective road renewal techniques including micro asphalt carriageway surfacing.
Many highway and construction professionals will associate the name May Gurney with the provision of highway services. The company, with its roots in Norfolk, has been manufacturing bituminous products at its Wymondham base near Norwich since the 1920s and has built an established reputation for constructing roads and maintaining carriageways across the country.
The company has now added to its established portfolio of services and has launched an integrated surface treatments business which offers a suite of highway rejuvenation techniques to clients nationwide, including micro asphalt carriageway surfacing.
Surface Treatments Manager Paul Lewis says that May Gurney carries out highway maintenance services for several county councils under term contracts and recently commenced work in the London Borough of Harrow in April 2012. The company’s new surface treatments business will, he adds, offer clients an even greater selection of road maintenance and renewal techniques.
“There are a limited number of companies that offer micro asphalt surfacing in the UK and they all tend to be fully booked with their own work. This was one of many reasons that made us decide to offer the technique ourselves, enabling us to provide our clients with a full range of cost effective surface treatments which are proving popular in these austere times,” he says.
Micro asphalt is a form of slurry surfacing that can be used to regulate undulations in a carriageway profile, deal with cracks and provide new texture. Aggregate, polymer modified binder, cement, water and fillers are mixed together inside the laying machine, carefully dispensed under computer control and leveled off to produce a durable overlay to restore and seal a highway surface.
May Gurney has a dedicated crew to carry out the process and this year invested £500,000 in a piece of specialist machinery from Germany. Micro asphalt is, in short, a more advanced technique than conventional surface treatments. “The process is more suited to urban environments and is becoming increasingly popular with motorists and pedestrians alike as there are substantially less loose chippings left when the surface has been laid,” says Mr Lewis. “Due to its cost effectiveness and durability we are convinced that authorities are looking to procure more micro asphalt surfacing than ever before.”
May Gurney’s target is to lay in excess of one million square metres of micro asphalt surfacing across its term maintenance contracts before the end of the current surface treatment season in October. The technique is unlikely to be used as frequently as traditional surface dressing (over nine million square metres were laid by the company last year) but it is set to become a major addition to the company’s surface treatment portfolio.
The company’s surface treatments business also offers slurry seal treatments to rejuvenate footways which not only reduces trip hazards but also the risk of financial exposure to compensation claims. Treating a footway before it fails also saves costs associated with the removal and replacement of existing material, the company says.
Highway maintenance including the work of the surface treatments business is carried out predominantly by May Gurney’s own engineers and operatives. The company uses raw materials supplied exclusively by Ayton Products, which is also part of the May Gurney group. Ayton Products manufactures bituminous binders and emulsions at its Wymondham site and has recently invested £2.1M to upgrade its manufacturing facility in support of the surface treatments business, its clients and customers. Laboratories on site carry out product research and development and compliance testing under the watchful eye of Operations Manager Stephen Collins, a Chartered Chemist and Physicist. He says: “Our laboratories ensure that design innovation is at the forefront of technological advancements and that all products meet the exacting requirements of the relevant British and European Standard specifications.”
Keeping the whole process of materials supply through to product development and surfacing – including traffic management on site – in house represents a deliberate attempt by the company to keep quality standards high. Ayton Products General Manager Tony Hipperson says: “Clients tell us they like the fact that fully integrated self delivery of these services means that May Gurney has management input into every stage of the process. This reduces the risks associated with non performance which can sometimes be an issue when sub contractors are used.”
Race is on to deliver treatments
Pressure is on for May Gurney’s new surface treatments business to complete over 300,000m² of micro asphalt carriageway surfacing and 900,000m² of surface dressing in Surrey before the end of June.
The business has to complete highway renewal works in the local area before, among others, road race cyclists competing in the Olympic Games pass through the county at speed. “We are therefore focusing our main attention on Surrey this spring and diverting increased resources to the county from elsewhere,” says Paul Lewis.
Five mobile storage tanks are currently stationed in Surrey to ensure sufficient quantities of binder material are available for the programme of works. Elsewhere May Gurney has recently completed a comprehensive package of surface dressing on the A17 on behalf of the Lincolnshire Alliance. It carried out 40,000m² of dressing in two days and took the opportunity to replace cats eyes, clear gullies, clean verges and white line the road while traffic management was in place.
Restructure to meet client needs
Creation of May Gurney’s surface treatments business follows a comprehensive restructuring of the company’s operations. Today, works are either handled by the ‘Public Services’ team (which includes highways and environmental services) or by the ‘Regulated Services’ team (rail, utilities and waterways).
“May Gurney has moved away from just being a contractor and the market has changed considerably in recent times too,” says Tony Hipperson. “Fifteen years ago there were many new roads being built such as bypasses around villages, but that is no longer the case.
The country is now faced with maintaining its current network and we are a major force in highways term maintenance contracting. May Gurney has cut its cloth accordingly, moved with the times and expanded in other areas. We have developed as an infrastructure support services company, committed to helping our clients in the public and regulated sectors deliver sustainable improvements to the front-line delivery of essential services across the UK.”
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