Automated Cone Laying Machine shortlisted at the National Highways Awards

Connect Plus and Connect Plus Services are delighted to announce that we have been selected as finalists in the prestigious annual National Highways Awards. 

In collaboration with Balfour Beatty, Highways Care and SENN Engineering, the Automated Cone Laying Machine (ACLM) has reached the final stage in the category of ‘Exceptional contribution to safety reach and innovation.’ 

The introduction of the innovative ACLM to the M25 network was a UK and industry first, following long-standing concerns for health and safety associated to manual cone laying. 

Cone laying is the primary segregation measure for the safety of our workforce and public within traffic management. By removing the need for operative to manually move up to five tonnes of cones per shift, the benefits are critical. These include: 

  • Manual handling and repetitive strain resulting from deployment of 5t of cones per shift, 5 nights a week, 48 weeks a year.  
  • Operatives lift c.24,000t manually over a typical 20-year career. 
  • The process to extend reach and the rotational twisting of the body is unergonomic and particularly damaging when combined with the weight stresses and fatigues over prolonged careers.  
  • Avoiding the risk of serious injury for workers deploying cones manually due to working adjacent to live lane traffic, often travelling at high speed, at night and in potentially poor weather conditions. The ACLM removes the risk to operatives of accidental collisions or close proximity of other vehicles coming within close proximity of the working vehicle. 
  • Avoiding the risk to operatives from traffic fumes due to close proximity to traffic and the positioning close to the vehicle’s own emissions involved in manual cone laying. 
  • Avoiding the hearing damage associated with close proximity to travelling/high-speed vehicles. Avoiding proximity to traffic is more effective in this regard than ear protection.
  • Preventing the workforce from being a hazard/distraction for other road users. 

Furthermore, the machinery improves the time efficiency and availability on schemes.   

It is a great success and recognition for the ACLM to be shortlisted, which is not only innovative to the industry but also in its commitment to Zero Harm and its overall collaborative approach in design of the project.  


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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