A57 Road Improvement Scheme, Salford

Buckingham Group Contracting & Hochtief UK Construction

At the end of 2012, the Hochtief Buckingham joint venture won a £30 million contract to improve the A57 in Salford, which links to Trafford and is due for completion in the summer of 2014. In March 2013, the contractors asked SUAVE to provide monthly aerial photographic records of progress on the site, which will see the construction of a dual carriageway and other improvements including a new 38 metre lifting bridge spanning the Manchester Ship Canal.

SUAVE began work the same month and has made six subsequent visits, recording progress through a series of high resolution aerial photographs. However, since the site is close to Barton Aerodrome (City Airport, Manchester), we have had to work particularly closely with air traffic controllers in order to operate safely and effectively.

Addressing this particular challenge has entailed precise scheduling and employing a second operator to maintain close radio contact with the Manchester/Barton control tower. Controllers have cooperated by slotting the SUAVE UAV into the circuit, effectively treating it as an ordinary aircraft. Being a licensed pilot has certainly been of great value since it has enabled the work to be managed extremely precisely, the result of which is that the survey has progressed very effectively and without any problems or delays.

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