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Video | Kier develops ‘deck scraper’ to reduce roadworks dust

25 November 2020

Kier, CLM construction and US-based National Flooring Equipment have developed a prototype ‘deck scraper’ machine that can remove the waterproof layer on road surfaces without the need for a large excavator, cutting down on noise and dust.

The innovation, which has received £650,000 in funding from Highways England, uses a blade to shave the membrane off more quietly and without taking out chunks of the road surface.

The Deck Scraper is much smaller than excavators and does not need an arm or a bucket. It also gives the operator 360-degree visibility, which Highways England said would reduce risk to the workforce as compared to using heavy plant in small areas.

Following two years of development and having undergone testing in the US, final trials were carried out at the Kier depot in Telford and the machine can now be taken to the market by National Flooring Equipment.

Highways England innovations lead for the Midlands, Lisa Maric, said: “Current methods to remove the waterproof layer are quite antiquated with environmental issues and some risk to the workforce. We wanted to develop a unique machine that would be more efficient and improve the safety of road workers while easing the impact on the environment and communities. 

“Instead of essentially using a steel bucket with teeth to remove the membrane, we can use a blade to simply peel it off – quietly, effectively and without damaging the road which will also save time and money.” 

Kier Highways senior project manager Mark Sheppard said: “This was an interesting opportunity to develop a prototype specifically designed to make the task of waterproof membrane removal techniques more efficient, cost effective and better for the environment. 

“By working with our design partners CLM and specialist manufacturer National Flooring Equipment, the project has culminated in the production of a method far removed from the existing techniques which are quite brutal and can often introduce additional damage to bridge decks as well as being extremely noisy and dusty. 

“And we have been able to do that without compromising quality, output or negatively impacting on road users.”

Highways England contributed to the cost of developing the Deck Scraper through its Designated Funds programme. Highways England had a £150m ring-fenced fund allocated to support innovation as support of the Road Investment Strategy for 2015-2020.