An injection of innovation leads to more prestigious awards for Wigan Council teams

men waterproofing in tunnel

Pioneering solutions and collaboration have led to Wigan Council’s highway structures and street lighting teams picking up highly acclaimed national awards.

The services have once again been highlighted as some of the best in the country with innovative techniques which produce fantastic results being recognised by a local government network which honour excellence in public services.

The council’s highway structures team have been awarded first place for their waterproofing of bridges submission, while the street lighting service scooped the runner up award in its category at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) annual awards.

Coun Paul Prescott, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “As a council, we are always looking to take the initiative and find new ways of working which will benefit the borough and further-a-field.

“While also responding to everyday needs of the borough, these awards remind us that we have some incredibly talented individuals working for us who are providing forward-thinking solutions which deliver massive economical and environmental benefits here and potentially across the country.”

The first award recognised how the maintenance of bridges has been transformed by Wigan Council’s highway structures team.

image of underneath a bridge

By trialling waterproofing of bridges by injection they have managed to remove the need for excavation during a trial covering five masonry arch structures.

The value of the trial cannot be underestimated with significant cost savings to the council and highway users in comparison to traditional methods.

Considerable environmental benefits included the avoidance of disposing 2,576m3 of waste material, 483 less lorry movements and the associated carbon emissions. Moreover, the duration of the works reduced from 52 weeks to 18 weeks.

Due to its success, this method of working will now be adopted as the standard approach for maintaining all 55 masonry arch bridges and other similar culvert structures.

The council’s street lighting team were also endorsed for the fourth year running after undergoing a mass transformation programme which saw all the borough’s conventional streetlights replaced with LED street lighting units.

There are 36,500 lights across the borough and the newly-fitted LED’s can be controlled by computer to provide dynamic lighting installations to increase or reduce lighting levels according to the use of the highway.

This has delivered fantastic outcomes which include a significantly reducing their energy consumption by 9,168,650 kWh (63%) and carbon emissions by 4,927 tCO2. The lights are also more reliable which has resulted in a 75% drop in the number of annual faults.

“These awards are testament to the council’s investment planning and all the officers involved. I am delighted we once again get celebrated on a national scale,” Coun Prescott added.

“To win one APSE award is no mean feat but to win numerous awards over multiple years in a row is an extraordinary achievement.”