Currently undergoing construction is one of the most significant stretches of road to be built in Wales in recent times: the Newtown bypass. When busy, the weight of traffic on the A489 and A483 that run through the town regularly causes long delays and consequently, the bypass will come as welcome respite to motorists, as well as Newtown’s 12,000 residents.
Initiated by the Welsh Government, the contract to construct the Newtown bypass was awarded to civil engineering company Alun Griffiths. Having worked together before on a number of other highways and regeneration schemes, Alun Griffiths had no hesitation in contracting Spencer to carry out the substantial work that would be required to facilitate the construction of the intended relief road.
Commencing earlier this year, the clearance work involved a variety of tasks; from major clear felling of several blocks of woodland, sectional felling of specific trees, hedge removal and single and two-stage clearance to accommodate sensitive ecological regulations.
Another significant aspect of the clearance work included the removal of trees and scrub adjoining the Cambrian Railway Line that crossed the proposed route of the intended bypass. This involved the provision of PTS (Personal Track Safety) trained operatives and close liaison with Network Rail, to ensure that work was carried out with minimal disruption to the railway.
Due to the ecological sensitivity of parts of the countryside and the wildlife present, Spencer worked alongside a team of site ecologists and the Ecological Clerk of the Works throughout the project. In addition to protected species of plants, the operation also took into account the presence of Badger sets, Bat roosts, Doormouse and reptile habitats.
Spencer ECA’s submission for the work also required recycling a large proportion of the timber and brash that was collected during the clearance process, in order to reduce the amount of waste material generated. To achieve this, Spencer chipped large quantities of the harvested material into virgin biomass that was subsequently transported to Spencer’s depot in Llandysul. The wood chip was then forced-dried using the company’s recently acquired biomass drying plant before being delivered to local customers, including the Welsh Government and Ceredigion County Council.
Smaller amounts of the recovered timber were later used in the manufacturer of pallets, with some of the hardwood milled on site and then donated to Powys College. The students later used this wood to construct a shed that is due to be entered into the “shed of the year” competition, an initiative set up by the website ReaderSheds.co.uk.
Spencer is pleased to report that each stage of the Newtown bypass clearance project has been completed on time, on spec and on budget.