Teamwork solves pipeline issue

Michael Morrow, Northumbrian Water project manager, and Scott Beattie, construction project manager at Carillion, are pictured during the project.
Michael Morrow, Northumbrian Water project manager, and Scott Beattie, construction project manager at Carillion, are pictured during the project.

How do you replace a town’s main water pipeline without any disruption to households? You call in the experts!

Teamwork and hard work were the driving force behind the major project between Northumbrian Water and Carillion, contractor for the Morpeth Northern Bypass, to re-route water from the Southern Trunk Main – the town’s primary water supply.

The £500,000 scheme to divert it into a new section of pipeline sitting underneath the bypass, which is currently being constructed, was essential. Had the old pipeline’s position not been moved, it would have sat around one metre above the new road’s surface.

The 12-week water main project has been hailed as a victory for collaborative working between a major works contractor and utilities provider. Both companies used state-of-the-art software to build the project virtually in 3D, removing any glitches ahead of work commencing.

It is also a milestone in the creation of the bypass, will run from the Whorral Bank roundabout in Morpeth to the A1 between Fairmoor and Lancaster Park.

Construction project manager at Carillion, Scott Beattie, said: “The most important thing for us throughout this vitally important project is to minimise disruption to the people that will benefit most from this new road.

“We are using cutting-edge 3D and 4D modelling technology to ensure a more co-ordinated and efficient approach to the construction of the Morpeth Northern Bypass.

“Working with Northumbrian Water, we were able to highlight and neutralise all potential issues in this major piece of work before a shovel-full of earth had even been moved.”

The utilities firm was able to use Carillion’s building information modelling (BIM) software to map out the route of the new pipeline.

As the new road will sit lower than the old pipeline, the computer programme was used to determine the exact depth and angle of the new main, as well as providing information on predicted timescales.

Michael Morrow, Northumbrian Water project manager, said: “Although not unusual, we would class this as a fairly major project as the Southern Trunk Main is 36 inches in diameter and carries between 15million and 25million litres of water every day and it can serve 75,000 customers, depending on how the network is being managed at the time.

“Once the new pipeline was finished, its integrity was checked and it was chlorinated to clean it. We then re-routed the water supply to everyone north of the bypass and put in a ‘line stop’ – a way of backing up the water supply – to ensure everyone south of the bypass, which includes the whole of Morpeth, continued to receive water.

“The switch-over went according to plan and without a single customer contact.”

The BIM 4D model for the Southern Trunk Main work can be viewed at www.morpethnorthernbypass.org/delivering-the-project