Bedford Western Bypass – Northern Section

The £16m northern section of the bypass involved the construction of a 2km single carriageway road with five associated roundabouts, three attenuation ponds and two main structures, one of which is an overbridge crossing the Midland Mainline Railway.


Waterman carried out the detailed design for Phase 2 of the Bedford Western Bypass which provides the final link of the Bedford Western Bypass linking the A421 with the A6 and is a Classified Road (part of the A6). The works were constructed under a 24 month ‘Design and Build’ contract with J Breheny Contractors, with the scheme being delivered 6 months ahead of schedule.

Our work on the Bedford Western Bypass has been highly commended in the Sustainability Category at the 2016 ICE East of England Merit Awards.

As lead designer, we were responsible for all detailed design including highway works in accordance with the DMRB, drainage design, pavement design, noise attenuation, landscaping, ecology, street lighting structural design and archaeology. Our role included obtaining discharge of the Planning Conditions, obtaining EA discharge consent and assisting in tailoring the form of construction contract.

The design of the bypass included 128,000m3 of bulk earthworks materials. The material gained from the ponds was able to be processed and used as earthworks materials in the embankments leading up to the Railway Bridge. The largest of the attenuation ponds was yielding class 1A material, therefore the team developed a methodology to borrow additional material within the lateral footprint of the pond and replace with the archaeological arisings.

The Earthworks Strategy was developed in conjunction with a value engineering exercise resulting in a balanced earthworks solution with an absolute minimum of imported material and minimum land take. The outcome reduced:

•4,400 vehicle (lorry) movements
•50 tonnes CO2 (0.35kg/km)
•22,000m3 of natural resources
•Earthworks programme by 3 months

Simon Andrews, Project Manager at Breheny Civil Engineering, commented: “J Breheny were awarded the contract to deliver the Bedford Western Bypass Northern Section scheme under an ICC design and construct contract. Waterman Group, who were responsible for much of the early design development with Bedford Borough Council, were appointed by Breheny to deliver the final design due to their expertise and knowledge of the scheme.”

The project involved many technical challenges which were resolved between Breheny and Waterman in a collaborative manner. Waterman Group provided an outstanding service to J Breheny Contractors with a robust and efficient design that was delivered to the construction team on time.”

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