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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

WJ and BEAR Scotland continue partnership to enhance safety and sustainability on Scotland’s trunk roads

WJ Scotland is continuing its longstanding partnership with BEAR Scotland to manage, maintain and improve the safety and sustainability of 1,928km of trunk roads in the South East and North-West.

The new and enhanced South East and North West Trunk Road Network Management Contracts started in Aug 2020 and Aug 2022 respectively and run for 8 years, with the possibility of further extensions up to 4 years. WJ will continue to collaborate with BEAR on road improvement projects to promote the safety of all road users.

This follows a successful working relationship spanning more than five years on previous contracts, which has seen 827 tonnes of Weatherline Plus laid on roads stretching across Scotland. As a result, this has significantly helped improve visibility and safety on the network, where notable examples include the A96 (Keith to Inverness), the A95 (Aviemore to Keith), and the M90 from Junction 6 to Broxden from when BEAR Scotland managed and maintained the North East Unit.

During the five-year partnership, WJ Group have also supported BEAR Scotland with a ground-breaking initiative called PRIME (Perceptual Rider Information for Maximising Expertise and Enjoyment) aimed at improving road safety for motorcyclists. Over a three-year trial period, 22 sites on the A83, A84 and A85 received new road markings known as ‘gates’ to encourage riders to drive through them, leading to safer lane positioning around bends. Analysing 32,000 motorcyclists, the markings lead to a significant reduction in user speed with no bike collisions occurring at any of the sites, resulting in the project winning the Road Safety Scheme of the Year and Judges Special Merit Award at the Highways Awards 2023, the 20 year anniversary.

The partnership has also delivered community benefit projects – a key emphasis for BEAR Scotland moving forward – through WJ’s Thinking Community initiative, which makes a positive impact on local people, clients and the supply chain.

“It’s a pleasure to continue working with WJ” said Iain Murray, Managing Director of BEAR Scotland. “They meet programme expectations and deliver a quality service. Not only that, but they also go above and beyond to balance increasing road safety needs with our social value and sustainability objectives. The team is dependable, and we are confident they will continue to be a valuable partner in the delivery of high-level services that focus on people and the environment.”

The partnership extension coincides with BEAR Scotland’s recently launched plans to create a new approach to delivering road safety improvements. This will be done by incorporating public protection goals into every project, to help reduce the number of people killed or injured on roads. It’s likely this will involve the continued implementation of WJ’s award-winning high-performance road marking, Weatherline Plus, which is manufactured using biogenic resin, rather than the traditionally used hydrocarbon resin.

This will help BEAR Scotland meet its net zero target, as Weatherline Plus delivers verifiable carbon savings of approximately 80%.

Brian Smith, General Manager at WJ Scotland, said: “We have built a fantastic relationship with BEAR Scotland and are delighted to continue to develop this over the eight-year Network Management Contracts. Safety remains vitally important and we’re proud to deliver products and collaborate on projects that focus on this. On top of that, sustainability is front of mind, and we’re committed to innovation in this area.

“It was also fantastic to collaborate with BEAR on their first Knowledge Exchange Day earlier this year, demonstrating our ThermoPrint and shot blasting machines. It was a very insightful day including presentations from our Group Sustainability Advisor on WJ’s net zero strategy, our National Specification Manager on retexturing and its benefits, and our partners at Clearview Intelligence on solar road studs.”

Iain Murray added: “Delivering sustainable road design is extremely important to us so partnering with an organisation that so clearly cares about this too is incredible. We look forward to the future of this partnership and seeing projects come to fruition.”

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