Highways Duct Insertion

Highways Duct Insertion


Vac-Ex were recently asked to come up with a highway excavation solution by a major Blue chip customer working for Highways England, on one of the busiest motorway interchanges in the UK. Upon meeting the clients Health and Safety criteria, along with a very tight program which was paramount for all the stakeholders involved, the works were completed successfully.

Job Description

The nature of the job was to insert an additional communications cable encased in a plastic 75mm diameter ducting for a chainage of 400 metres. After a site consultation was conducted on an evening shift, the vacuum excavation unit which was identified from our diverse range was the 32 tonne “Mega” Vac-Ex complete with the “Mega Arm” Hydraulic Power Arm. The unit has an 8 metre radial for the extra reach, which was required to reach over the traffic barrier adjacent to the hard shoulder. It was further realised that a “Verge Tipping” 32 tonne 8 wheel vacuum excavation unit would be beneficial in order to tip the excavated material onto the verge, allowing collection by grab. This saved time on the Vac-Ex CPCS Accredited plant operator having to leave the traffic management to tip, meaning the unit would be spending more time vacuum excavating.

Key Issues

Upon breaking ground, it was quickly established that the trench was littered with existing underground services, 40% of these being uncharted and with little room for our 250mm diameter suction hose with our Vac-Ex designed “non-conductive” plastic dig pipe to get within the centres of the existing underground services.


This being the case, we called upon our sister Design and Manufacture business to fabricate a 150mm reducer with a “non-conductive” plastic dig pipe, this enabled us to have better visibility of the excavation and to further eliminate any chance of service strikes.


The contract was completed safely and exceeded the client’s expectations getting ahead of program with no damage to any existing services. The completion of this project took over 500,000 hours of working safely and strike free. The ethos of our business and achievements we are extremely proud of. Works completed to programme with ZERO strikes. There were no reported incidents in respect of service strikes.

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Over 1 Million working hours with zero strikes.


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