Automated cone laying machine in New Civil Engineer ‘Future of Roads’  

In July, Connect Plus Services were proud to introduce the Automated Cone Laying Machine (ACLM) to the M25 network; an innovative piece of machinery which was a first to be rolled out in the industry and in the UK. 

The ACLM was developed in collaboration under the National Highways Designated Fund programme, in partnership with Highway Care and SENN Engineering and rolled out by one of our parent companies, Balfour Beatty. 

Cone laying remains essential to traffic management; however its risks have long been an industry concern. These concerns include to the health and safety of workers, as well as to the time efficiency of schemes. 

This innovative technology removes these concerns by deploying or collecting a cone in under ten seconds, removing the need for operatives to manually lift up to five tonnes of equipment per shift.  

The ACLM’s innovative technology to enhance safety has been reported on in this month’s ‘Future of Roads’ issues of New Civil Engineer– which you can read here.

Dale Hicks and Phil Clifton were interviewed for the article and here is some of what they said.

Dale Hicks, Connect Plus Services traffic manager technical officer, said:

The guys and girls on the network are put at risk each night with the travelling public coming at them. We take measures to protect them as much as possible – dual vehicle working, impact protection vehicles, working from footwells – but the risk is still there. The cone laying machine removes that risk considerably if not completely. 

Phil Clifton, Balfour Beatty Highways managing director said:

It feels like another step change similar to when live lane crossing was banned. Similar to that, [the cone laying innovation] needed considerable investment and collaboration. Safety is an area where we should be collaborating, not competing. 


Notes to Editors

About Connect Plus and Connect Plus Services

  • Over 10 years ago, Highways England awarded Connect Plus the contract to operate and manage the M25 and its key arterial link roads.
  • Connect Plus is a consortium that includes Edge Orbital Holdings Ltd, Balfour Beatty and Egis Road Operation UK - a unique partnership with a collective strength in highways maintenance and management.
  • Connect Plus Services (CPS), is Connect Plus’ specialist and strategic supply chain partner responsible for operations and maintenance, bringing together the collective strength and expertise of its parent companies, Balfour Beatty, Atkins and Egis Road Operation UK.
  • With a workforce of around 600 people, based at seven locations around the network, CPS carries out routine maintenance, and whole-life management of thousands of M25 assets. CPS manages the operation of the network 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including a severe weather season maintenance programme.
  • Over the past 10 years, collectively we’ve delivered over £1.4bn worth of road improvements and junction enhancements, and we’re continually exploring new and innovative ways to deliver safer, more reliable journeys for our customers. Together, we’re passionate about delivering the long-term needs of the M25 and improving the driving experience for all our customers.
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