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Heavier HGVs mean ironworks must be stronger than ever

Longer lorries carrying increased loads are permitted to travel on UK roads from this month (January 2022) but what does this mean for highway ironworks?

HGV image: source online


Although fewer vehicles on the network is potentially good news (estimates say one in eight vehicles will be reduced) to reducing congestion and emissions, any increase in the maximum weight of traffic will put even more pressure on highway ironworks needing to withstand more weight than ever before.

The Department for Transport published its response to its consultation on the introduction of longer-semi trailers (LSTs) in 2021, after a nine-year trial of longer vehicles up to 15.65 metres in length. Although their report finds them to be safer, more economical and better for the environment. It is additional pressure on the existing highway infrastructure, not been created with this size of heavy vehicle in mind?

Loose or unsecure highway ironworks are a huge problem for many highway authorities, requiring temporary repairs to prevent hazards where drainage gullies at the side of the road or utility provider service boxes in the centre of the highway become loose from the weight of traffic passing over them or road subsidence around them occurs after resurfacing works.

A solution exists, than can cope with such heavy loads, having been extensively tested to withstand the heaviest weight of traffic (120 tonnes) and extreme weather (rain, ice and snow) without movement or deterioration.

Furthermore, the government has also announced it will soon launch a separate trial using heavier-than-normal, 48-tonne lorries, following a positive response from the consultation on their introduction. These lorries will be able to transport heavier containers directly to and from rail depots so that goods can be transported across the country by train but will require those highway routes to accept even heavier HGVs between these rail depots. The current maximum weight or a lorry on the highway network is 44 tonnes.

Barry Andrews, Manager at SHIMPAC® SYSTEMS said: “Although I understand the Government’s thinking around reducing the number of vehicles (1 in 8) and so emissions to help the environment, the reality is that we will face the same number of HGVs on the roads just carrying larger loads.”

“The network needs to be ‘fit for purpose’, which is where SHIMPAC®  products can help. We have created a dedicated system that secures highway ironworks more effectively than other means and it is proven to withstand the heaviest traffic. Our ROADSHIMS® have been tested for loads up to 90 tonnes so when used to secure ironworks will effectively keep them stable for many years – 38 years and still going strong at our original UK test location.”

“We would ideally like to see our products used as a matter of course by highway authorities as the solution to secure ironworks to last, without the need for costly remedial maintenance as a temporary fix year on year. It’s part of a sustainable approach, securing ironworks to last at a time when our roads are expected to cope with more and more extremes in terms of traffic, larger vehicles and extreme weather conditions.”

To find out more about SHIMPAC® SYSTEMS range of products for all types of ironwork installation, visit www.shimpac.com or contact Barry Andrews by e-mailing: bandrews@shimpac.com or telephone 07808 646299.

Notes to editors:

1. SHIMPAC® SYSTEMS provide a stable and durable base for ironworks seating/levelling. Designed and industry approved, versatile SHIMPAC® products withstand extreme loads in highways, port, airport and rail locations. Developed by British expert engineers, products can be tailored to suit each location and are approved for use in many industries as a long-term and sustainable solution.

2. SHIMPAC® products are made of compressed cement and natural fibre combination. They are quick and easy to install and various thicknesses are available to make the area level with the road surface with millimetre accuracy.

3. The full produce range can be found online at Product Range – Shimpac

4. To find out more about SHIMPAC® SYSTEMS company history and product development visit About – Shimpac