A fleet of JCB crawler and wheeled excavators is playing a major role in a road construction project just metres from the factory where they were built.

Derbyshire-based earthmoving specialist, JC Balls & Sons, is working for a Carillion-Tarmac joint venture on the A50 Growth Corridor Project A, part of the National Infrastructure Plan, constructing a grade-separated junction on the A50 dual carriageway to the west of Uttoxeter.

The company is operating a mixed fleet of equipment on the project, including three 22-tonne JCB JS220 crawler excavators, a 36-tonne JS370, a wheeled JS175W and a 57C-1 compact excavator. Other machinery includes a JCB 714 articulated site dumper and a JCB VM115 soil compactor.

Bought specifically for the A50 project, one of the JS220 models has been equipped with an Engcon E226 tilt-rotator, complete with the Engcon Positioning System. This is being used in combination with a Trimble 3D machine control system, providing new levels of control and accuracy.

“For digging corners on batters it’s a lot easier. The machine is really comfortable and with the Engcon I can get more work done before repositioning,” says JC Balls & Sons Operator, Jamie Chappell.

This performance and productivity boost has been echoed by JC Balls & Sons’ Contracts Manager Dane Potts, who has had to revise some of the planned works on the project, to incorporate the machine’s increased productivity.

“Around 90% of our machinery on the project is already equipped with GPS machine control and we have found that it can cut the time on site almost by half,” he says.

“Tricky construction details are made easy by a simple level adjustment on the GPS controller. The combination of GPS with the Engcon tilt rotator is working really well and I’ve certainly noticed a difference in productivity. We’ll definitely be having more tilt rotators on our machines.”

The Tarmac-Carillion joint venture is working on Project A of the A50 Growth Corridor scheme near Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. Project managed by Amey, the scheme is creating three new roundabouts, two to the south and one to the north of the A50 dual carriageway. These have been joined by a new bridge structure and there will be extended slip roads to ease congestion on this busy trunk road.

The project will provide improved access to a housing development and to new employment sites to the west of Uttoxeter.

Six 47m long steel bridge beams were lifted into place across the A50 this month (July), resting on piers that have been constructed using 210,000 tonnes of pulverised fuel ash (PFA) from the nearby Rugeley Power Station. Around 30,000m3 of existing material has been stabilised with the addition of lime, to provide increased structural properties and to reduce the amount of soil that has had to be taken from the site.

The project is expected to be completed by November 2018, when it will provide improved access and reduced congestion to this busy cross-country trunk road.