Lane Rental Charges - The Bigger Picture
Cubis Systems is Europe’s leading manufacturer of innovative, lightweight structural access chamber and cable protection systems used in the construction of infrastructure networks. Cubis has incorporated innovative design to enable greater cost effectiveness through significantly decreased product installation times over traditional chamber construction methods such as brick and concrete.
Cubis’ STAKKAbox™ range of chamber access systems offer a lightweight, modular, scalable solution that can be built on-site in-situ, without the need for specialist equipment or wet trades. These key features are extensively being used to support utility companies as pressure increases on them from local councils to deliver infrastructure works on budget and on time, while causing as little disruption to the public as possible. These time savings will become even more critical if the Department for Transport (DfT) are given the green light to allow local councils to charge by the hour for road closures (lane rentals).
The lane rental scheme was first launched in London 2012 and it charges utilities companies an hourly fee based on the duration of the road works carried out. The aim of this was to reduce the time they take and encourage companies to opt for less popular times such as evenings and weekends.
According to the DfT report on the future of lane rental schemes, serious and severe congestion caused from planned utility works has fallen by 51 per cent on lane rental roads compared to before the scheme was implemented.
As more councils look at the current lane rental schemes in London to decide if they should implement a lane rental scheme, councils must not forget that it's these utilities companies delivering the infrastructure that the UK needs to drive up productivity and deliver on government priorities, such as high speed broadband and the move towards smart cities.
A key factor in supporting utility companies as pressures increase will be driving a technical change in how people work. For example, the increased uptake on time saving products that will seek faster installations, lower labour requirements and easier future modifications compared with traditional materials such as brick and concrete in the access chamber market.
For example, Cubis’ MULTIduct™ cable protection system offers a shallower burial depth ducting that has high structural strength-to-weight ratio and crush resistance properties. The unique lightweight, push-fit connection allows for a single person lift that lays straighter and flatter with less need for heavy machinery on site. MULTIduct™ can be used in motorway communications, traffic street lighting and the Rail, Power and Telecoms markets. MULTIduct™ also offers an opportunity for collaboration across multiple utility companies, meaning what could have been nine separate projects could be condensed into just one. This minimised disruption complements the lane rental scheme greatly and future proofs any installation within the single product. Continued collaboration and innovation will help to one day reopen roads as soon as possible and eliminate congestion from our roads during infrastructure projects.
There are already numerous schemes, that have utilised Cubis’ chamber access and cable protection systems. One such example was the use of MULTIduct™ and STAKKAbox™ in a Under Road Crossing (URX) for Worchester City Council traffic signals and street lighting development programme (TSSL).
The MULTIduct™ system was specified by Worcester City Council due to its quick installation and high strength properties. This type of installation would have normally be completed using traditional twinwall circular ducting. As MULTIduct™ is significantly stronger, it can be buried much shallower than conventional products, meaning reduced excavation, removal of spoil and backfill. As there are no spacers needed for the separation of duct, the excavation is narrower. These factors combined resulted in faster installation which saved time, money and allowed the road to re-open quicker.
MULTIduct’s flat internal profile made it easier for the cable installers to pull cables through the ducting to connect inside the STAKKAbox™ access chamber for the new traffic signals.
AX-S™ Composite covers were also supplied with Louvre frames which allowed the surrounding materials to be placed right up to the outside of the frame, reducing the need for a concrete fillet. This fillet is prone to cracking when trafficked continuously by slow moving vehicles. The road and pathway was excavated and re-instated all within one day.
The MULTIduct™ system played a pivotal role in helping to alleviate the strain caused by roadworks speeding up the process dramatically reducing the road closure.