Surveying M1 motorway 2

Safely widening the M1

The 23km stretch of the M1 between Junction 25 at Sandiacre and Junction 28 at Pinxton has been widened from three lanes to four.

Opus was brought on board by Morgan Est (now Morgan Sindall), part of MVM, an Anglo-French consortium created specifically for this project. Such a large project required between two and three teams working day and night directly on it for over two years.

The main challenge was working on a live motorway. Cars are used to travelling at 70mph along that section of the M1, and although a permanent 24-hour, 50mph monitored speed limit was set up, there was always a concern that the surveyors were able to work safely.

Aside from the part it played in the motorway widening, the surveying and control points gave the client their first accurate picture of that particular stretch of roadway, including the street furniture, road signs and manholes.

Being able to use GPS saved the team time and increased accuracy. Using the Trimble Virtual Reference Station network set up and run by MVM surveyors, the client could upload the drawings they already had remotely and the teams on the ground could use them to check what had already been recorded and update it in real time rather than survey the entire area from scratch. By using the internet, the teams could work anywhere along the 23km stretch without repeater radios.

The surveying work on the M1 has also led to the development of several long-term working relationships for Opus.