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The side effect – paving with a road widener

First publishedin World Highways
September 2018
Sidewinder UK has been using its novel road widener machines on a series of paving jobs, including smart motorway projects. Sidewinder UK has carried out work on the M6 smart motorway contract between junction 16 and junction 19. The company used one of its road wideners to place and grade the final layer of sub-base to the balanced central reservation in readiness for Tarmac Contracting to pave the base and binder courses.


An estimated 5,000tonnes of sub-base was used in the initial 6.4km x 4.7m wide stretch of central reservation. This required the balanced central reservation to be paved in two halves projecting each carriageway crossfall approximately 2.5% to a centre crown. Tarmac then paved approximately 240mm of base and binder courses, on top of which the concrete barrier was installed.

The 6.4km section of central reservation was one component of the work to upgrade the M6 to smart motorway status between junction 14 and junction 20. The previous phase of the work from junction 19 to junction 20 was managed by Balfour Beatty, for which Sidewinder UK also laid the sub-base to a similar design for GPL Group and paved the Permaflow concrete for Roocroft Road Restraint Systems.

The company has carried out work for other projects in the UK using its road widener. This includes work on the M20 between junction 10 and junction 8 for Balfour Beatty which is to implement the new Rack and Stack system for the tunnel. For night working on the M180, the machine was used to lay 340tonnes of 14mm SMA along a 1.3m width. And one Sidewinder was recently commissioned by Toppersfield and Carney Construction via Hoctief UK to work on the Shinfield bypass near Reading. The work required the firm to place sub-base 150mm thick, followed by binder and wearing course to a width of 2.5m.

In a move to broaden its operating base, the firm has been opening new depots in the North, South and West of the UK enabling it to provide a better service and reduce mobilisation costs. The company has also expanded its equipment fleet and the five machines now include the smaller 7tonne OP2500, the 9tonne OP3000 and the 16tonne OP4000, which offer paving widths from 2.5-4m wide. Ongoing developments have recently included the addition of screed augers to improve material flow across the width of the screed and vibration to benefit compaction.

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